Election 1944: Beaver County, PA, for Roosevelt (10-23-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 23, 1944)


Beaver County believed safe for Roosevelt

But Lawrence may go for Dewey
By Robert Taylor, Pittsburgh Press staff writer

Beaver, Pennsylvania –
The presidential election in the Beaver Valley will be a contest between the Republican organization and the CIO Political Action Committee, backed by more than 60,000 United Steelworker members and aided by a Democratic organization of reduced strength.

The prospects are that Beaver County will Produce a majority for President Roosevelt, possibly as large as his 9,200 majority of 1940 and that Lawrence County will stay in the Republican column by a small majority.

In both counties, an active Republican organization will be batting to hold down the Roosevelt lead in industrial districts and increase the vote for Governor Thomas E. Dewey, and nothing is certain until the votes are counted.

CIO official on ticket

Principal feature of the campaign in the Beaver valley is that here a CIO official, active in the Political Action Committee, is himself a Democratic candidate, and that PAC and Democratic organizations merge closely.

Sam G. Neff, 31-year-old president of the United Steelworkers Local at Ellwood City and a representative on the Steelworkers Negotiating Committee, is the Democratic candidate for Congress against Rep. Louis E. Graham, veteran Republican, three-term Congressman and former U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania.

The Steelworkers claim more than 40,000 members in Beaver County’s highly industrialized valley, 12,000 more in Lawrence County, where New Castle’s mills got back into production with the onset of the war, and another 6,000 in Butler County, which is part of the Congressional district.

Vote record cited

PAC members are circulating copies of Rep. Graham’s voting record in Congress – for the anti-strike bill, against Selective Service and Lend-Lease, among other votes – at factory gates to help Mr. Neff, along with records of Mr. Neff’s service as chairman of the local Steelworkers Grievance Committee.

Mr. Graham, however, weathered a Roosevelt victory in the district in 1940. Mr. Roosevelt carried the three counties by 3,163 because of his Beaver County lead: Mr. Graham carried the district by 2,360.

Interest in the election is as keen here as it is anywhere in Pennsylvania and the sharpest vote clash will come in Aliquippa, where Republicans, who once held control, are fighting to keep down the vote of the dominant Democrats, led by John Atkinson, president of the Steelworkers Local and also Democratic chairman for the Borough.

Democrats confident

Republicans won the last county election in Aliquippa, but Democrats, claiming united support and the major part of the borough’s Negro population, predict they will reverse the vote this time.

Beaver County’s registration totals 37,590 Republicans and 23,275 Democrats, but none of the elections of the past 10 years has fulfilled the promise of that registration majority of 14,315 for the Republicans.

GOP leads In Lawrence

Lawrence County now has 29,360 registered Republicans. only two Jess than in 1940, and 12,544 Democrats, 3,879 less than the total of four years ago. Since 1936, when it gave a majority of 6,536 to President Roosevelt, it has remained Republican, by margins ranging from a 547 majority for Willkie in 1940 to the 4,487-lead given Governor Martin two years ago.

Butler County, a factor in the Congressional fight, went Democratic only once, in 1934, and has consistently turned in Republican majorities of from 5,300 to 6,900 since.

Republicans believe the Beaver Valley will produce a vote that will put U.S. Senator James J. Davis ahead of the rest of the Republican ticket, because of Mr. Davis’ labor and fraternal order support, but Democrats contend his senatorial voting record on war issues will cut down his vote.