Newspaper Articles

Charleston Gazette
July 14, 1960

Among State Delegates

Jack Held Edge Before Voting

By Harry G. Hoffman
Editor of The Gazette

Convention Hall, Los Angeles - West Virginia's delegation stuck to its guns early today, casting majority of its votes for Sen. John F. Kennedy.

The state just missed being in position to nominate Kennedy by 36 votes.

West Virginia's vote was 25 votes, divided as follows:

Lyndon B. Johnson..5 1/2
Adlai Stevenson....3
Stuart Symington..1 1/2

Symington picked up half a vote in the state delegation on the day of the balloting when Mrs. Violet Snedegar of Elkins, the state's national committeewoman, announced her decision.

"I have decided to take the middle of the road," she said, indicating she had been caught between the pressures of the Kennedy forces, headed by Robert P. McDonough of Parkersburg, and those of Johnson, spark-plugged by Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

At the time of the delegation's organization meeting in Charleston, Mrs. Snedegar said she was "leaning to Kennedy", but when she arrived at the convention she said she would not make her decision until the day of the balloting.

Here was the probably lineup as the first ballot neared:

For Kennedy:Clarence J. Alderson of Hinton, Hulett C. Smith of Beckley (voting as alternate to R. D. Bailey of Pineville), Richard W. Barnes of Wellsburg, M. G. Burnside of Huntington, A. Carl Carey of Charleston, Alfred F. Chapman of Wheeling, Joseph P. Condry of Charleston, E. M. Frederick of Clarksburg, Robert E. Hedrick of Elkins, William Bruce Hoff of Parkersburg, Charles M. Love of Charleston, Harley O. Staggers of Keyser, Laurence E. Tierney, Jr. of Bluefield, Mrs. Virginia Williams of Romney, and state Sen. Ward Wylie of Mullens.

For Johnson:Robert C. Byrd of Sophia, Milton J. Ferguson of Huntington, Frank J. Maxwell of Clarksburg, Robert H. Mollohan of Fairmont, Lyle C. Smith of Huntington, and National Committeeman John E. Amos (half vote).

For Sevenson:W. T. Brotherton of Charleston, W. E. Chilton III of Charleston, and Thomas B. Miller of Wheeling.

For Symington:John M. Slack, Jr. of Charleston, and Mrs. Snedegar (half vote).

Mollohan indicated that he would vote for Johnson unless Kennedy appeared to be winning on the first ballot. In that case his vote would go to Kennedy.

The balloting climaxed the busiest day yet for the West Virginia delegation.

First was a 9:30 coffee at the delegation's headquarters hotel, the Commodore, at which Sen. Johnson put in an appearance for hand-shaking and brief remarks.

"I'm a friend of West Virginia and the West Virginia people," said Johnson. "I cast the deciding vote in the policy committee for the mine safety bill. I'm interested in your problems and the problems of America, and I want to do something about them. I'm your kind of folks."

Sen. Byrd who tried to organize a "Stop Kennedy" campaign in the West Virginia primary and has led Johnson's drive for state delegates, said all of the delegates were favorably impressed by Johnson.

"He certainly didn't hurt himself," said Byrd, "and he may have gained some."

Byrd also anounced [sic] that he had received 34 telegrams and two letters from West Virginians urging him to stand fast for Johnson and, in some cases, to do what he could to block Kennedy.

At noon, the delegates, alternates and other West Virginians here for the convention were guests of U. S. Sen. Jennings Randolph at a luncheon in the Commodore.

More than a hundred persons were present including a number of West Virginians who now live in California.

Following the lu[n]cheon, the state delegates caucused to determine what method would be followed in the balloting. It was decided that each delegate would write his choice on a card, sing it and pass it on to the chairman for tabulation and announcement of the vote.

The West Virginia delegates also caucused at the convention hall Tuesday night during debate on the civil rights section of the Democratic platform. The secret caucus was suggested by Sen. Byrd, who reportedly objected to some provisions in the civil rights plank.

After some discussion, the members present reportedly voted 14 to 2 to support the civil rights provision. There was no record vote, however, and when the platform came up on the convention floor, it was adopted by a voice vote.

| Campaign Summary |
| Visits by Date | Visits by County |

| Advertisements and Cartoons | Audio-Visual | Documents |
| Newspapers | Oral Histories | Photographs | Reminiscences | Speeches |

West Virginia Archives and History