The Pittsburgh Press (November 6, 1944)
New York (UP) –
Voters tomorrow will elect 35 Senators who can play major roles in determining the degree of U.S. participation in a world security organization.
Of major concern, also, particularly for Republicans, but of primarily domestic significance, will be the 31 state governorships at stake.
Popular interest focuses on the presidential and vice-presidential races, but the treaty-making (and thus, the peacemaking) function of the Upper House of Congress endows the senatorial election with virtual equality as an event of historical importance. The Dumbarton Oaks plans are already being debated.
Actually, 36 Senators will be elected, but one will be for a term expiring next January – that of the late Sen. Frederick Van Nuys (D-IN).
Mathematically possible, but politically doubtful, is the chance that the Republican Party might gain formal control of the Senate. Most political experts, however, look for a total Republican addition of five – or, at best, six – seats to the party’s current 38.
Depending on the outcome of the presidential campaign, Republican strength can be more than that, and for this reason, peacemakers attach primary significance to Election Day. If President Roosevelt gets his fourth term, observers predict Republicans will have support on the greatest issues – such as peace plans – from anti-Roosevelt Southern Democrats. But whether this support could be counted on in the event of a Dewey victory is not at all certain. Election of a Republican President might destroy the working alliance between Southern Democrats and Republicans which has opposed administration measures during the past two years.
Seventeen senatorial contenders are expected to have little opposition in winning reelection, either because they come from states which are traditionally Democratic or Republican, or because they are personally popular enough to overcome partisan prejudices.
Governor Leverett Saltonstall, Massachusetts Republican, is so popular personally that all polls concede his overwhelming election to the Senate regardless of whether Governor Dewey or President Roosevelt carries the state in the presidential contest.
A total of 15 senatorial contests are in the doubtful column, among them being Connecticut, where incumbent Republican John A. Danaher is receiving stiff competition from Democratic Brien McMahon; California, where Democratic Senator Sheridan Downey is up against Republican Lieutenant Governor Frederick F. Houser; Illinois, where Democratic Senator Scott W. Lucas is opposed by Republican Richard J. Lyons, and New York, where veteran Democratic Senator Robert F. Wagner, is running against Republican Secretary of State Thomas J. Curran.
Nye in three-way fight
A stiff contest is also underway in North Dakota, where isolationist Republican Senator Gerald P. Nye is in a three-way race with Democratic Governor John Moses and Independent Lynn U. Stambaugh.
In the border state of Kentucky, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Alben W. Barkley is battling a popular Republican, James Park. Kentucky went Republican for the governorship in 1942, and most soundings indicate that the Senator is having a tough battle.
Senator Robert A. Taft (R-OH), although believed by most observers to be safe for reelection, is meeting bitter opposition from CIO and other liberal groups on the basis of his pre-war foreign policy voting record.