The Pittsburgh Press (November 4, 1944)
Smaller vote expected this year and result should be closer than in 1940, experts say
By Lyle C. Wilson, United Press staff writer
New York –
Franklin D. Roosevelt and Thomas E. Dewey bring their presidential campaigns to climax tonight for the general election next Tuesday to determine the occupant of the White House for the next four years and the political complexion of the 79th Congress.
There are five candidates for President, hundreds for Congress and thousands upon thousands for state and local offices.
Thirty-one governors will be elected Tuesday. Maine elected its governor last September – a Republican – but votes for President next Tuesday with the other states. Of the 31 governorships in contest, 12 are held by the Democrats.
States outside the South where Democrats are serving and where Republicans have more or less chance to make gains are: Arizona, Rhode Island, Utah, Indiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia.
The presidential candidates and their running mates are:
- DEMOCRATIC: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman
- REPUBLICAN: Thomas E. Dewey and John W. Bricker
- SOCIALIST: Norman Thomas and Darlington Hoopes
- SOCIALIST-LABOR: Edward A. Teichert and Arla A. Albaugh
- PROHIBITION: Claude A. Watson and Andrew Johnson
This is a fourth term bid by Mr. Roosevelt. Four years ago, he defeated the late Wendell L. Willkie (Republican) by 27,243,466 votes to 22,304,755, polling 55 percent of the popular vote against 45 percent for Mr. Willkie, but winning a landslide electoral vote decision, 449–82.
Smaller vote expected
The popular vote is expected to be smaller and closer this year, estimates of the total running 40 million well beyond 45 million, compared with the approximately 50 million cast in 1940. In a close election, the absentee vote from the armed services may be decisive and that further complicates the situation. In 11 states, those absentee ballots will be counted after Election Day on dates varying with the states. The final count is as late as Dec. 7 in North Dakota. The other 10 are California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington.
A remark by vice-presidential candidate Truman has been taken as a challenge to the statesmanship of Senator David I. Walsh, senior member of the Democratic Party in all New England. Senator Truman called Mr. Walsh an “isolationist” under circumstances suggesting that the Senate would be better off without him unless he changed his point of view. The remark may cost Mr. Roosevelt Massachusetts’ 16 electoral votes.
The Thomas-Teichert-Watson presidential candidacies, representing minute minorities, are protest or single-cause gestures, at most, without hope of more than some hundreds votes here and there where it has been possible to conform within the law to get the party name on the ballot.
As the campaign closes, party alignments in Congress are as follows:
- SENATE: 58 Democrats, 37 Republicans, 1 Progressive.
- HOUSE: 214 Democrats, 210 Republicans, 2 Progressives, 1 Farmer-Labor, 1 American Labor, 7 vacant.
There will be 36 senatorial contests Tuesday, one of them for a short term from Indiana which expires Jan. 3, 1945, and, therefore, is of no significance. That Indiana seat represents a Democratic vacancy. There are, in addition, 22 Democratic seats and 13 Republican seats at stake next week, one of the former and two of the latter being for short terms which will continue for several years. The remaining 32 contests are for full, six-year terms.
It would be mathematically possible, but politically impossible for the Republicans to obtain at this election enough additional seats to give them a minimum of 49 which would provide a bare majority-of-one control of the Senate in the 79th Congress. That is because some of the Democratic seats at stake are from Southern states which are safe for the party.
The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives has already been whittled away by death, resignations and by-elections since November 1942. A bare majority-of-one requires 218 seats. There is no majority party in the House of the 78th Congress as of now. But the Republicans have made no effort to challenge Democratic organization of that body which continues Rep. Sam Rayburn (D-TX) as Speaker.
There are 435 seats in the House, but only 432 will be up for decision on Tuesday. Maine elected its House delegation last September – three Republicans.