Election 1940: Political Eyes Concentrated On Pittsburgh (10-7-40)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 7, 1940)


Roosevelt’s Visit Friday to Climax Week’s Campaign Efforts

By John B. Townley

The Presidential campaign for Pennsylvania’s 36 electoral votes will center this week in the western counties of the State.

Although heralded by the White House as non-political, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s visit to Johnstown and Pittsburgh Friday will climax the week’s Democratic drive.

Most political observers believe that Wendell L. Willkie, the Republican nominee, must carry Pennsylvania to have a chance of election. Mr. Roosevelt, they argue, can be re-elected if he loses Pennsylvania but carries New York with its 47 electoral votes.

Indicative that Democratic politicians are not going to treat the Roosevelt trip into Pennsylvania as non-political is the fact that Senator Joseph F. Guffey (candidate for re-election), Meredith Meyers (State chairman) and Luther A. Harr (campaign director) are planning to board the President’s train in Johnstown and ride with him to Pittsburgh.

David L. Lawrence, Democratic National Committeeman, will meet Mr. Roosevelt here.

The President will arrive in Johnstown about 9 a.m. Friday to inspect the food control work there.

Following his visit to the mills, Mr. Roosevelt will go to Pittsburgh’s Terrace Village to dedicate the second largest federal housing project in the country. He is expected to speak around 1 p.m. Other speakers scheduled for the dedication are Nathan Straus, United States Housing Administrator, Mayor Cornelius

Police Check Route

Campaigning in territory just vacated by his opponent, Wendell Willkie, President Franklin D. Roosevelt plans a two-day speaking and inspection tour of the industrial Mid-East. The map shows announced route of his special train and speaking dates.

Led by Secret Service agents, 28 police chiefs, county detectives, county police and Pittsburgh plainclothesmen today went over the proposed route which the President will take on his visit here.

This route is expected to lead, after the President’s arrival at the East Liberty Station of the Pennsylvania Railroad, through Wilkinsburg, Edgewood, Swissvale, Whitaker, Homestead, West Homestead, Hays, the South Side, the Hill district and downtown Pittsburgh.

Mayor Scully announced today his intention of declaring a partial holiday at City Hall Friday so that almost 5,000 city workers could attend the housing project dedication.

Mr. Roosevelt will go from Pittsburgh to Youngstown to inspect defense work in other mills.

Republican activity also is being stepped up. Jay Cooke (candidate for United States Senator), James F. Malone (candidate for State Treasurer) and State Senator Frederick T. Gelder (nominee for Auditor General) will concentrate on the western sector of the state. They will speak in Erie tomorrow, Sharon Wednesday; Butler Thursday and Beaver Falls Friday.

Roosevelt Criticized

The Democratic State candidates, Senator Guffey, F. Clair Ross (nominee for Auditor General) and G. Harold Wagner (candidate for State Treasurer) will campaign in 26 counties during the week.

State Chairman Meyers and Campaign Director Harr will hold a series of regional conferences with county chairmen. One of these will be in Pittsburgh Friday.

Federal Social Security Administrator Paul V. McNutt will speak in Greensburg Friday night.

The scheduled visits of Mr. Roosevelt to Pennsylvania and Ohio drew the assertion from Congressman Thomas A. Jenkins (OH) that Mr. Roosevelt had been conducting “one of the most active political campaigns undertaken by any President in office while hypocritically endeavoring to convince the public that his only interest is that of national defense.”