Newspaper Articles

Charleston Gazette
July 11, 1960

State Delegates Cold to Johnson

By Harry G. Hoffman
Editor of The Gazette

Los Angeles - Strong anybody-but-Johnson sentiment developed among members of the West Virginia delegation Sunday on the eve of the opening of the Democratic National Convention.

The move case as Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson of Texas, making the most of the encouragement given him by former President Harry S. Truman, applied velvet-gloved pressure in an effort to overtake front-running Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

A. Carl Carey of Charleston, member of the Kanawha County Court and a former state senator, set the pace for the West Virginia attitude by declaring: "I'll go with anyone to block Johnson because I don't think we can win with him."

Carey, a delegate from the Sixth Congressional District, is a strong supporter of Kennedy for the presidential nomination.

"If a deadlock develops and it becomes necessary for me to leave Kennedy," said Carey, "I will go to Adlai Stevenson as my second choice. Johnson would be my last choice because I think it would be especially hard for the Democrats to win with him in West Virginia."

"And," he added, "nearly everybody I've talked with feels the same way I do."

Carey started out favoring Stevenson for the 1960 nomination, but said that "seeing, hearing and reading Kennedy changed me. I think he has everything it takes to run the country in this perilous situation we're in."

Kennedy's vote-getting strength, as demonstrated in the West Virginia primary and in other states, also impressed Carey.

He defeated Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey with a 60.8 per cent vote in the state primary to upset predictions that his Catholic religion would be a drawback in a predominantly Protestant area.

"I feel that Kennedy ran against a coalition in West Virginia," said Carey, "and he beat the whole bunch. When the people show they want him that badly, they should have him. Furthermore, aside from being well qualified for the presidency, I think Kennedy would carry West Virginia better than anybody else in the general election."

Democratic State Chairman Hulett C. Smith of Beckley also expressed the view the Kennedy would be the strongest runner in West Virginia.

Smith will vote in the convention as alternate to Judge R. D. Bailey of Pineville, a Kennedy supporter who was unable to attend because of an ear infection.

"Personally, I lean to Stevenson," said Smith, "but I feel obligated to vote Judge Bailey's view. I'll probably stay with Kennedy for several ballots, if necessary, and unless Stevenson shows winning strength I'll probably stick with Kennedy.

"I want to nominate someone we can win with in both state and nation, and the strongest candidate right now is Kennedy, with Stevenson next best. Stuart Symington hasn't clicked and I find our people cool on Johnson. I consider Stevenson the best qualified of all prospective candidates, but we'll have to wait and see what kind of strength he develops."

Stevenson at this point has only two firm and open supporters in the West Virginia delegation:W. T. (Suey) Brotherton and W. E. (Ned) Chilton III, of Charleston:but indications are that he would pick up considerable strength if the balloting is prolonged and front-runner Kennedy falters.

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