Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wayne Morse Christmas Surprise

The year was 1959, and the Christmas season was in full swing here in Oregon. Families were gathering and preparing to celebrate the end of a busy year. President Eisenhower was entering his last year in office and candidates from all around the country had been announcing their intentions to run to replace him all year. A late entrant to the Democratic nomination came on December 22,1959 out of Oregon.
Morse Talks to Young Voters after event in Maryland

Senator Wayne Morse, a man who had been supposedly uninterested in running for President announced his candidacy. Appearing above the front page headline in the Oregonian read: "SEN. WAYNE MORSE ENTERS PRESIDENTIAL RACE". It was a Christmas surprise that some Oregon Democrats loved and other Democrats cringed at unwrapping. There were several factors that led Morse to announce and they all played a part in his campaign. Be it ego, pressure from a citizens petition drive to place him on the ballot, Jack Kennedy's unimpressive progressive credentials, a hope that Adlai Stevenson may still be willing to run at the convention and finally fears that Republicans would place him on the ballot to embarrass him for his 1962 re-election campaign.
Morse for President Bumper Sticker

Some Oregon Democrats were unhappy with Morse because, like Edith Green and other traditional Morse allies they had been asking him all of 1959 if he wanted to run as a Favorite Son candidate in 1960. He had repeatedly turned them down, so Green and others backed other candidates in the primaries. Edith Green herself was leading up The Oregon Kennedy effort and was not to pleased when Morse announced. Other Oregon Democrats were unhappy because they felt Morse had just made the Oregon Democratic Primary irrelevant. Every Democratic candidate was set to appear on the Oregon ballot, and it was to the be last primary before the convention that did not feature a Favorite Son candidate.
Emress Specialty Pin 3" inch from 1960

Oregon politicos were hoping that a contested primary with 5-6 candidates would draw attention to Oregon and bring in people and money for the May election. Now that Morse was in the race, candidates would be less willing to actively campaign in the state. Candidates tended to respect 'favorite son' campaigns in 1960. California had a primary after Oregon, but no one actively campaigned against Governor Pat Brown. Wayne Morse ended up losing all three primaries he entered in 1960.

Provided in this post are samples of some of the items that can be found from his 1960 Presidential campaigns in Oregon, Maryland and D.C. The Emress Specialty pin is rumored to be a prototype, and it is unknown how many this prolific campaign vendor of the 1950s made in 1960. The bumper sticker is also a hard to find item. They are great items for a Morse enthusiast like myself.  This last item is a newspaper ad from a DC newspaper.
Morse Newspaper Ad from DC Primary

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