Election 1944: Hopes of GOP soar high after parley (8-5-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (August 5, 1944)


Hopes of GOP soar high after parley

Dewey heads home, visits Indiana
By Lyle C. Wilson, United Press staff writer

En route with Governor Dewey –
Republican hopes for a long-delayed political victory next November soared high today as Governor Thomas E. Dewey, GOP presidential candidate, sped homeward from a three-state campaign swing that apparently put some solid foundations under the party’s 1944 effort.

Win, lose or draw, the Dewey campaign promises to be better organized than those with which the Republicans have three times challenged President Roosevelt – in 1932, 1936 and 1940. He does not suffer from the blight of unpopularity which fell upon Herbert C. Hoover’s lost-cause candidacy for reelection in 1932.

Governor Dewey is better known and has tremendous geographical advantages over Alf M. Landon of Kansas, another governor chosen to joust with the New Deal champion in 1936. And Governor Dewey is not regarded as an interloper who crashed the party gate, as many Republicans looked upon Wendell L. Willkie, a one-time Democrat, who led the GOP in 1940 and polled more votes than any man – other than Mr. Roosevelt – ever got for the Presidency.

Governors confer

Governor Dewey tied his campaign kite to the fortunes and aspirations of the other Republican governors of this country in a three-day stopover in St. Louis.

Two days he devoted to a Governors’ Conference in which he and Governor John W. Bricker, his running mate, sat down with 24 other Republican governors, and drew up a 14-point bill of indictment against the Roosevelt administration for its conduct of domestic affairs.

Dewey managers are determined that local Republican leaders shall feel that they have an active part in the campaign.

Dewey confident

The New York Governor was satisfied completely with results of the St. Louis conference and said he believed the state governors rendered a service to the people that will not be forgotten in November.

He told newspaperman:

I am convinced that the Republican Party will win in November regardless of the war news.

The net result of tremendously hard work is that one of the most vexatious problems that has faced the country has been settled as a matter of national policy by our party and to the complete satisfaction of the governors representing three-quarters of the people.

He added another state to his 2,350-mile campaign swing when late last night he stopped at Indianapolis, Indiana, to confer with Ralph Gates, candidate for governor, and Homer Capehart, Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate.

Some sour notes

There were some sour notes in the seven-day journey – no political junket escapes them. Among the big crows watching the Dewey parade in Pittsburgh, there were a few persons who shouted “We want Roosevelt.”

In St. Louis, the Dewey train arrived before officials had reached the downtown section and the streets were almost deserted as he rode through the city. But a midmorning arrival in Springfield, Illinois, brought out crowds that almost overcame police efforts to maintain order.

In Pittsburgh, Springfield and St. Louis, Dewey conferred with political leaders and spokesmen of racial groups, industry, labor, agriculture and other segments of the national life. It was notable that his meetings with labor were largely American Federation of Labor affairs. The Congress of Industrial Organizations evidently prefers to talk politics with the Democrats.

CIO’s strength shown

Arriving in St. Louis the day after the state primaries, Governor Dewey could read in the papers of the power of the CIO-PAC whose opposition was judged to be a major factor in the defeat of Democratic Senator Bennett Champ Clark.

Mr. Clark has been an anti-Roosevelt Democrat and was on the President’s so-called purge list in 1938. But White House scouts looked the situation over then and decided Mr. Clark was too strong to be licked. This time he was bowled over, shouting that the “Communist-controlled CIO” had done him in.

Although the CIO was a factor, political observers said Mr. Clarks’ opposition to the Roosevelt administration and war policies had worked heavily against him. In any event, the CIO-PAC is something with which the Republicans will have to cope and Governor Dewey could see concrete evidence of that in Missouri.

Pulse feeling

RNC Chairman Robert Brownell Jr. found the Governors’ Conference an opportunity to do some pulse feeling.

He was too practical a politician to claim that he had been promised that every one of the 26 states represented in St. Louis would go Republican next November, but he insisted that the governors agreed that the Dewey-Bricker ticket was in.

If all 26 states were won by the GOP, Governor Dewey would have a margin of 75 or so votes in the electoral college, in which 266 is a bare majority.

Campaign plans are still “secret.” It was plain enough, however, that Mr. Brownell wants the people to see and hear his man and is planning at least one coast-to-coast campaign swing, probably in October.