Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Elections '84

The Northeast MASSACHUSETTS Democrats, many of whom favored political independent John Anderson in the 1980 presidential race, again have demonstrated their independence.

This, together with strong momentum from earlier victories in the New Hampshire primary, Maine caucuses, and Vermont's nonbinding primary, helped push Gary Hart to the top of the Bay State's primary, winning 40 percent of the Democratic ballots cast. Walter Mondale, despite strong backing from union leaders and a small army of top Massachusetts politicians, ran a distant second, with 26 percent of the vote.

About these ads

The big political casualty, however, was George S. McGovern, the 1972 Democratic presidential nominee, who abandoned his candidacy after failing to come in first or second. He came in third, with 21 percent of the vote. John Glenn was fourth, at 7 percent and Jesse Jackson fifth, with 5 percent.

Unlike the other candidates, Mr. McGovern spent all of his time since the New Hampshire primary wooing voters in Massachusetts, the only state he carried in the 1972 presidential election.

Although recent polls indicated a Hart victory here, Mondale boosters, including Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, Boston Mayor Raymond L. Flynn, and United States House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill Jr., had hoped to at least make it at least a close race if not an upset. Senator Hart relied largely on his appeal among rank-and-file party members, including younger voters and those eager for a different candidate than those who have been to the political well before.

In neighboring RHODE ISLAND, Hart outpolled Mr. Mondale in 37 of 39 towns and cities across the state to win an 11 point primary victory. Unofficial results showed Hart with 45.5 percent of the vote to Mondale's 34.7 percent. As a result , Hart picks up 12 Rhode Island delegates and Mondale gains 10. None of the other candidates won any delegates.

Hart is said to have split the state's strong labor vote with Mondale, thus eroding what a month ago appeared a fortress of solid support for Mondale. Hart is also said to have done well among elderly voters. Mondale won in only two cities: Central Falls, an industrial town, and North Providence, where Mondale's campaign effort was based.

Prior to Hart's New England primary and caucus victories, Mondale was a heavy favorite to win in Rhode Island. He had received endorsements from most of the established Democrats in the state, including Gov. J.Joseph Garrahy.

None of the other candidates on the ballot came close to the two-way race between Hart and Mondale for Rhode Island delegates. Mr. Jackson placed third in the contest, receiving 7.9 percent of the vote; Senator Glenn won 4.9 percent; and Mr. McGovern won 4.8 percent. The South

About these ads

Although Mondale points to his narrow victory in GEORGIA as evidence that he is still a strong candidate, the evidence is shaky.

But Hart's failure to win many black votes in Georgia will hurt him in upcoming contests in many states if not corrected.

Georgia was considered one of Mondale's stronger states until Hart's phenomenal surge began in New England. The Peach Tree state is home to Mondale's former boss, Jimmy Carter. Mondale made many visits to the state. Yet he may have appeared a little too liberal for some voters, even though less is known about Hart's positions.

Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young had predicted Georgia voters would not be swayed by the Hart's New England showing but would vote their own minds. But Hart soared practically out of nowhere in Georgia to nearly beat the former vice-president. The vote: Mondale, 30 percent; Hart, 27 percent; Jackson, 21 percent; Glenn, 18 percent; and McGovern, 2 percent.

For Jackson, Georgia was a political lifesaver. If his vote count holds up, it qualifies him for additional, much-needed federal campaign money. But he again failed to attract many white votes, which he will need in most places to gain more delegates. The black vote in Georgia went 57 percent to Jackson; 28 percent to Mondale; and only 8 percent to Hart, according to ABC exit polls.

In FLORIDA, Hart grabbed the state's popular vote from Walter F. Mondale, even though as recently as a month ago the Colorado senator had no organization, had raised little money in the state, and had hardly visited it.

Hart took 39 percent of the state's vote to Mondale's 33 percent. Jackson took third place, with 12 percent, and Glenn trailed close behind, with 11 percent.

Hart was successful because he quickly swept up former Florida Gov. Reubin Askew's organization. Mr. Askew bowed out of the presidential sweepstakes following his overwhelming defeat in the New Hampshire primary.

Before New Hampshire, a political poll conducted by the Miami Herald indicated that Mondale could easily take Florida, even with Askew as a contender. But public opinion quickly shifted after New Hampshire, and Mondale's media blitz in the state may have hurt him more than it helped him. Some voters leaving the polls said they had switched to Hart after they heard Mondale attack him.

A survey of representative precincts showed that Mondale kept his support in blue-collar neighborhoods and among Hispanics. But Hart was able to win in middle-class suburban, elderly, wealthy, and rural precincts.

By Wednesday morning, the delegate selection had not been completed. A total of 84 of the state's 143 delegates were on the ballot Tuesday. Hart, who had few delegate candidates committed to him before the election, was able to get the word to most of his supporters that a vote for an Askew delegate was a vote for him.

As for ALABAMA, this was to have been the state where Glenn finally won one. He didn't. It was also the first big test of Jackson's drawing power among blacks. He lost nearly half their vote to Mondale.

In the end, Alabama was the state Mondale could point to as proof of his continued viability. The vote: Mondale, 34 percent; Glenn and Hart tied at 21 percent; and Jackson, 19 percent.

In a steel- and auto-related manufacturing state that's economically more akin to some Northern states than the deep South, the large union vote went about 51 percent to Mondale, and the rest was split about evenly among the other candidates, according to ABC-TV polls. But the fact that Mondale lost half the union vote may mean potential added strength for Hart in the upcoming contests in unionized Northern states.

Jackson blames Alabama's black political leaders, many of whom endorsed Mondale, for having ''missed an opportunity'' to speak out loudly for black issues by backing him. But many blacks in Alabama apparently see Mondale as qualified to speak and act on those same issues. Teachers, one of Mondale's largest groups of supporters nationwide, undoubtedly helped get out a vote for him in Alabama, where they are the state's most powerful lobby. The Plains

Buoyed by his string of New England election victories and a last-minute media blitz, Hart closed to within 0.2 percent of Mondale - a virtual tie in the OKLAHOMA caucuses.

Hart's strong showing surprised many state Democratic leaders who expected him to do well but not to seriously challenge Mondale for the victory.

With 84 percent of the precincts reporting, unofficial results showed Hart and Mondale separated by a scant 16 delegates statewide. Mondale held a 40.9 percent edge in the vote, compared with Hart's 40.7 percent. That translated into 3,091 precinct-level delegates for Mondale and 3,075 for Hart.

Hart was running well in the western and northern parts of the state and seemed to be gathering significant support from rural areas, says Tony Borthick, state Democratic Party director.

Glenn, once expected to sweep Oklahoma, finished a distant fourth, with 4.1 percent of the vote or 315 delegates. Uncommitted had 10.1 percent or 784 delegates.

Mondale's support from labor and teachers' groups apparently saved his Oklahoma campaign, Borthick says, especially in Tulsa County, where Mondale trounced Hart overwhelmingly.

State Democratic leaders privately predict that most of the support for Glenn , Jackson (283 delegates), and McGovern (4 delegates) would go to Hart, along with a large bloc of uncommitted. The West

Hart won in NEVADA. With 557 of the 738 precincts counted, Hart led 1,662 to 1,122 over Mondale.

In WASHINGTON, with only 370 precincts of the state's 6,000 precincts reporting, Hart held 54 percent of delegates and Mondale 34 percent.

Of HAWAII's 27 delegate votes in caucuses Tuesday night, Mondale picked up only five. Island Democrats voted to stay uncommitted in Tuesday's balloting for 19 of the state's 27 delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Of the 2, 830 votes cast, uncommitted received 1,798 votes, Mondale 914, and Jackson 118.

Under a complicated party formula, 5 of the 19 delegate votes went to Mondale , and 14 were given to uncommitted. The remaining eight votes automatically go to the state's top Democratic elected officials and party officers, who are unpledged at the moment.

Of these eight, US Sen. Daniel Inouye and US Rep. Cecil Heftel say they prefer Mondale.

Dave Kumagai, Hawaii state Democratic Party chairman, said the overall sentiment of Hawaii's 27-member delegation breaks down to seven votes for Mondale and 20 uncommitted.

The results were seen as a defeat for Senator Inouye, who fought to deliver Hawaii to Mondale and who also is co-chairman of the Democratic National Convention.

Hart campaign officials say the large uncommitted bloc gives Hart a chance to earn support.

Jackson, who received 4 percent of the votes cast, failed to win any delegates. He needed at least 20 percent cast to qualify for delegates.

With their names absent from the ballot, Hart and Glenn urged their supporters to vote uncommitted.


Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.