The Pittsburgh Press (November 2, 1942)
Clues to 1944 presidential prospects are also awaited
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer
Congressional and state elections tomorrow will be closely watched, from the White House as from elsewhere, for public reaction to the conduct of the war and for clues to 1944 presidential prospects.
Soundings among the people indicate an undercurrent of dissatisfaction over progress of the war. How deep-seated this feeling is will be disclosed in the extent of Republican gains in House and Senate.
Republicans have accused the administration of confusion and bungling. Democrats have sought to offset these charges by reviving the issue of isolationism before Pearl Harbor and blaming Republican votes in Congress for lack of preparedness.
The administration seems certain to hear from the dissatisfied in tomorrow’s elections, in state as well as Congressional contents, but few believe that Republicans will win control of the House.
Would be upset
That, indeed, would be a smacking upset and would bode ill for the Democrats in 1944. Loss of the House by the party in power has always been followed two years later by loss of the presidency.
Republicans would have to pick up 53 seats to win control of the House. The party standing now is 257 Democrats, 165 Republicans, 3 Progressives, 1 Farmer-Labor, 1 American Labor, 1 Independent Democrat, with 7 vacant seats, all previously held by Democrats.
To capture the House, Republicans would have to break into territory where Democrats seem to still be well-entrenched.
Senate gain likely
They recouped so strongly in 1938 in Eastern and Midwestern territory that possibilities of gains are limited, unless there should be a real sweep that would carry them heavily into Democratic city strongholds and into border states on a scale not now indicated.
It appears likely that Republicans will gain 25-30 seats in the House, and 5-7 in the Senate, in which only 34 of the 96 seats are at stake in this election.
This would give Republicans 190-195 seats in the House (a majority is 218). It would increase their Senate standing from 29 seats to 34-36. With such gains in the House, the party would become a formidable opposition.
Might jolt administration
Gains of this extent might be a sufficient jolt to cause the administration to take stock and tighten up its operation of the war.
Democratic nervousness over the election is indicated in numerous appeals from party leaders to get out and vote. President Roosevelt, in his second appeal last Friday, requested managers of war plants to give workers reasonable time off to vote without docking their pay.
This was recognition of the difficulty faced this year in getting out the industrial vote, the bulwark of the Democrats, due to concentration on war production. Many workers have to go far from their home precincts to their jobs in war plants. Many workers who migrated to other sections have neglected to register.
Draft cuts vote
The draft will be a factor in reducing the total vote this year. For this and other reasons, including the notable lack of interest, the vote will be below normal for off-year elections. Only a fraction of the more than four million men in the Army have taken advantage of the privilege of voting by mail, which is surrounded with restrictions.
The elections hold a certain dramatic interest this year in personalities, including some of the Republican presidential prospects for 1944. This appears in three governorship contests. Of the 34 state governorships ats stake in tomorrow’s election, 14 are now held by Republicans, 8 by Democrats in the South, and 12 by Democrats elsewhere.
Dewey win sure
Two young men are exciting interest, Thomas E. Dewey in New York, and Governor Harold Stassen of Minnesota. Mr. Dewey seems sure of election as governor, and Mr. Stassen of reelection. This will put both in the running for the 1944 presidential nomination. Mr. Stassen plans to resign within a short time and enter the Navy.
Governor John W. Bricker of Ohio will automatically enter the 1944 lists also if he is reelected for a third term as governor, and this too seems sure.