U.S. Midterm Elections 1942!

Reading Eagle (March 3, 1942)

Hawaiian Islands plan for elections

Delegate and officers to be elected in fall

Honolulu, March 3 (AP) –
Despite blackouts, martial law and gasoline rationing, the Hawaiian Islands plan to hold primary and general elections next fall, Charles M. Hite, Territorial Secretary, said today.

Officials to be elected include a delegate to the U.S. Congress and territorial, city and county officers.

If blackouts continue to November – and nothing now indicates they won’t – many usual scrappy election topics will be missing, such as the operation of the now-closed Japanese-language schools and whether citizens of Japanese extraction should seek office.

One territorial representative in the latter category, Thomas Sakakihara, is in custody. He was arrested by military authorities on suspicion of sympathizing with the enemy.


The Pittsburgh Press (March 11, 1942)

Helen Gahagan eyes Congress

Melvyn Douglas’ wife may be candidate in fall
By Evelyn Peyton Gordon, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Washington, March 11 –
The recurrent report is that actress Helen Gahagan will run for Congress next fall.

Miss Gahagan is the wife of movie actor Melvyn Douglas, of the Office of Civilian Defense. She is also National Democratic Committeewoman for California.

For several years, Mr. and Mrs. Douglas have been running in and out the White House at a great rate. Now Melvyn is forsaking his movie career for defense. Mighty good campaign talk if the voters will forget the recent OCD unpleasantness.

The office of Rep. Leland Ford, who now represents California’s 16th District, said that reports of Miss Gahagan’s candidacy were “spattered around” the California papers. However, it was said, a question had arisen about Miss Gahagan’s legal residency in that district. Furthermore, if Helen Gahagan was a stage name, she would have to run as Mrs. Douglas, etc.

But it is suspected that Gahagan is the lady’s own name. Years ago, a famous producer told the budding Brooklyn actress that such a name simply wouldn’t do in “lights.” But Helen was adamant. The name Helen Gahagan did pretty well along Broadway.

La Gahagan would be a social asset to Washington. She has a beautiful speaking voice which would put some of our best legislators to shame. Her looks would make the other women members perk up and they’d make many a veteran Congressman straighten his tie.


The Pittsburgh Press (April 13, 1942)

Background of news –
Turnover in Congress

By editorial research reports

The 1942 primary elections for Congress open in Illinois tomorrow. Most of the incumbent members from Illinois face contests for renomination. Politicians of both parties will scan the results eagerly to discover if public resentment at Congress is as deep as is rumored.

In normal years, few members of Congress fail of renomination if they desire it. In 1940, only five of the 36 Senators whose seats were being contested were defeated in the primaries (three others were not candidates). In the House, there were five vacant seats. In the other 430 cases, 397 members (92%) were renominated, 23 others (5%) were not candidates and only 10 (<3%) were defeated for renomination. There is, of course, no way to tell how many of the members who did not choose to run again were actuated by fears of defeat if they did run.

As a result of the mid-term election of 1938, 33 members of the House were replaced by members of the same political party.

In 1936, 25 of the 35 Senators who were candidates were renominated, eight were not candidates and only two were defeated. On the House side, 372 of the 391 members trying for renomination obtained it, only 19 (5%) were defeated. So the turnover in the Congress which convened in 1937 was due much more to the results of the general election (in which the Republicans gained 80 House seats and six Senate seats) than 5o the primary results.

Deaths and resignations also account for some of the normal turnover in Congress. In the last Congress, seven Senators died and one other resigned; 24 Representatives died and six others resigned.

In the elections of 1940, the Republicans gained five Senate seats, lost seven House seats. The political alignment in Congress as a result of the 1940 elections was as follows:


66 Democrats, 28 Republicans, 2 others.


267 Democrats, 162 Republicans, 6 others.

A number of Congressional districts went Democratic in 1949 by a fairly close margin. If in 1942 the Republican candidates in those districts should retain all the Republican votes cast in 1940 and at the same time should gain 10% of the votes cast for the Democratic candidates in 1940, the Republicans would gain 48 House seats which the Democrats now hold. In addition, the vote in 22 other districts would be almost 50–50.

The foregoing conclusion is based upon figures which include six Pennsylvania districts. However, since the Pennsylvania districts have been reapportioned for this year’s election, the figures fail to reflect possible realignment of voter strength in the shifts necessary to reduce 34 districts to 32.

The House alignment would then be as follows:
210 Republicans, 197 Democrats, 6 others, 22 in doubt.

In three states, the results in certain districts would depend on the attitude of third parties: the American Labor Party in New York, the Progressive Party in Wisconsin and the Farmer-Labor Party in Minnesota. It should also be noted that in 1940, certain House candidates in California had both the Democratic and the Republican nomination.

The Pittsburgh Press (April 14, 1942)

Will Rogers Jr. named candidate for Congress

Beverly Hills, Cal., April 14 (UP) –
Will Rogers Jr., Beverly Hills publisher and son of the late Will Rogers, famed American humorist, was endorsed by the Democratic council of the 16th District today as its candidate for Congress.

Mr. Rogers, who has not filed a nominating petition, warned supporters they might have to carry on the campaign alone. He is a reserve officer in the field artillery and is scheduled for induction into the Army soon.


Illinois votes today in first war primary

Chicago, April 14 (UP) –
Illinois votes today to nominate Democratic and Republican candidates for one seat in the Senate and 26 in the Lower House of Congress.

Approximately 2 million citizens are expected to vote in the primary, the nation’s first state political contest since the United States entered the war.

Candidates and political leaders appealed for a heavy turnout to emphasize faith in the democratic process during the war against Axis totalitarian states, but the vote was expected to fall short of the off-year record of 2,550,642 polled in 1938 when a bitter Democratic factional battle drew a heavy vote.

Political observers doubted the outcome of the primary would offer any clear test of Midwestern sentiment on major national issues.

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The Pittsburgh Press (April 15, 1942)

New Deal Congressman elected head of Tammany

New York, April 15 (UP) –
U.S. Rep. Michael J. Kennedy, New Deal Congressman from New York’s 15th District, was elected leader of Tammany Hall last night at a meeting of the old Democratic Party organization’s executive committee.

Political observers said that Mr. Kennedy who enjoys the confidence of President Roosevelt and is on good terms with Gov. Herbert Lehman and the state party organization, would provide Tammany with a leader who had support of both national and state administrations for the first time in its history. He is expected to be successful in ending factional strife within Tammany.

Mr. Kennedy succeeds Christopher D. Sullivan, ousted as leader Feb. 6.

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Primary won by war critic

Illinois’ Senator Brooks is renominated

Chicago, April 15 (UP) –
Senator C. Wayland Brooks, pre-war isolationist and recent critic of the administration’s war strategy, will face Rep. Raymond S. McKeough, Democrat and staunch administration supporter, in Illinois’ 1942 senatorial election, conclusive returns from yesterday’s primary balloting showed today.

Approximately 1,800,000 voted in the primary, which was the nation’s first state election contest since Pearl Harbor.

Senator Brooks polled strong pluralities both in Chicago and Downstate to lead his principal challenger, State Treasurer Warren Wright, by a margin of more than four to one.

Mr. McKeough, supported by Chicago’s powerful Kelly-Nash organization, built up an overwhelming lead in Cook County (Chicago), where his plurality was approaching 300,000. His major opponent, Paul H. Douglas, Chicago alterman and University of Chicago economist, led in Downstate voting by a narrow margin.

In the Republican primary, returns from 7,555 of the state’s 8,612 precincts gave:

Brooks 579,818
Wright 122,452

In the Democratic primary, returns from 7,427 precincts gave:

McKeough 524,217
Douglas 246,659

The Pittsburgh Press (April 16, 1942)

Voting rights urged

Washington, April 16 –
House Republican Leader Joseph W. Martin Jr. (Mass.) today introduced a bill to enable all men in the armed services to vote in next fall’s Congressional and state elections by absentee ballot.

The Pittsburgh Press (April 17, 1942)

GOP chiefs will plan for election campaign

Washington, April 17 (UP) –
An executive session of the Republican National Committee in Chicago April 20 will be devoted to “feeling the pulse of the country” and mapping plans for the forthcoming Congressional campaign, GOP Chairman Joseph W. Martin Jr. said today.

Mr. Martin said:

Partisan politics have no place in the consideration of war activities. It is important, however, for the forthcoming Congressional elections to be considered and ways and means discussed as to how best they may be conducted under the unusual conditions.

The Pittsburgh Press (April 19, 1942)

Troops in Australia may cast vote by mail

Melbourne, April 18 –
Special arrangements will be made to enable American troops in Australia to cast their votes in the U.S. Congressional elections this fall, an Army spokesman said today.

The spokesman pointed out that Army regulations do not in any way disfranchise soldiers serving in expeditionary forces. Discussing the forthcoming primaries, he said that some states have an absentee vote, and that soldiers from these states could vote by mail, if they had not already cast their ballots before leaving the United States.

GOP leaders hold strategy conclave

Chicago, April 18 (UP) –
Members of the Republican National Committee assembled here tonight to formulate campaign strategy in next fall’s general election amid rumors of an impending split in party ranks, but official spokesmen asserted the meeting would be “the most harmonious in years.”

Many observers, however, saw the possibility of a widening difference of opinion on issues arising from the war between followers of Wendell L. Willkie, titular head of the party, and Old Guard Republicans, including several pre-war isolationists.

Mr. Willkie’s secretary, Lem Jones, said the 1940 presidential candidate would not attend the three-day session. Mr. Jones indicated, however, that resolutions drafted by Mr. Willkie would be submitted.

’Soldier vote’ will be small

Only 227 register, with deadline tomorrow

Candidates won’t have to worry much about the “soldier vote” at the May 19 primary election.

Men who are eligible to vote and are in the armed services have a right to do so but must apply for ballots. With tomorrow the deadline for such application, a check yesterday showed that only 227 had done so thus far.

While the exact number of men in service from Allegheny County is a military secret, the number was estimated at 20,000 before the outbreak of war and is much greater now.

Yesterday was the last day for other voters to register.

The total registration of voters in the county outside Pittsburgh up to Friday night was:

Republicans 187,235
Democrats 185,490

The registration outside the city has been exceedingly light since the November election. For that election, the figures were:

Republicans 186,319
Democrats 183,595

Democrats have made a slight gain over the November election registration.

The figures tabulated last night, showed these registrations in divisions of the county outside Pittsburgh:

Boroughs Townships Third-class cities
Democrats 103,162 64,461 17,867
Republicans 103,413 56,853 26,969

In the City of Pittsburgh, the total registration last night was:

Democrats 208,131
Republicans 127,484
Miscellaneous 1,601

The Democrats picked up 2,289 new registrations during the last week, the Republicans 692. Switches from Republican to Democratic during the week totaled 294 and from Democratic to Republican, 352.

Party changes will be accepted through May 4, but no more new registrations will be permitted.

The Pittsburgh Press (April 20, 1942)

GOP Chairman shuns protest by Willkie men

Picks subcommittee to consider all war resolutions