Election 1944: GOP hopes for Senate edge slim; has chance in House (11-6-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (November 6, 1944)


35 seats at stake in Upper House

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.

Saltonstall popular

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.


Dewey predicts Congress control

New York (UP) –
Republican hopes of capturing a majority of House seats appeared brighter today than at any time since the GOP lost control of the House after the 1930 election as then-President Herbert Hoover was starting his last two years in office.

Neither party has an absolute majority as of today.

Republican National Chairman Herbert Brownell has predicted that tomorrow’s young will swell the GOP’s present total of 210 to a majority of the 435 seats.

In that event, Republicans would organize the House, heading up the committees and electing Rep. Joseph W. Martin Jr. (R-MA), now Minority Leader, as Speaker to succeed Sam Rayburn (D-TX).

During last week’s campaign swing through Massachusetts, Republican presidential nominee Thomas E. Dewey repeatedly referred to Mr. Martin as “the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.”

Democrats confident

Democrats, however, have insisted not only that they will not lose any of their 214 present members but will add to their total.

A bare majority requires 218 seats.

The voters will elect 432 representatives tomorrow, Maine having picked three Republican members in September. With these three, the GOP has eight sure House members for the next two years before the polls open, five of the party’s candidates being unopposed

Similarly, the Democrats are sure of 51, including Speaker Rayburn, four seats in California, Louisiana’s eight, one in New York and others scattered through the Southern states.

Dies, aides out

Prominent members certain not to be among those present in the new House include Chairman Martin Dies (D-TX) of the House Committee Investigating Un-American Activities, and Reps. John Costello (D-CA) and Joe Starnes (D-AL), members of the Dies Committee.

They were strongly opposed in pre-primary campaigns by the CIO Political Action Committee. Mr. Dies did not seek renomination, the selection going to J. M. Combs. Mr. Costello and Mr. Starnes were defeated. The latter will be succeeded by Albert Rains (D-AL), Hal Styles, who defeated Mr. Costello in the California primary, is opposed for election by Republican Gordon L. McDonough.

Two races in which more than passing general interest has been manifest involved two prominent pre-war isolationists, Rep. Hamilton Fish (R-NY) and Rep. Stephen A. Day (R-IL).

Glamor in race

Each party is running a “Glamor Girl.” Rep. Clare Boothe Luce, (R-CT), ending her first term, is seeking reelection against the opposition of Democrat Margaret E. Connors and Socialist Stanley W. Mayhew.

Helen Gahagan Douglas (D-CA) is running against William D. Campbell. Mrs. Douglas, a former actress, is the wife of screen actor Melvyn Douglas.