top of page

RFK Nixes Senate Run

June 23, 1964 - Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy removed himself today as a potential candidate for the United States Senate from New York this fall.

In a brief statement, he ended speculation that he might seek the Democratic nomination by saying: “I will not be a candidate.” He gave no reasons and did not indicate his long-range plans.

Mr. Kennedy said in his statement: “Over the last several weeks, Democratic leaders and friends in New York and elsewhere have contacted me urging that I seek the Democratic nomination for United States Senator from New York.

“Representing the state of New York in the United States Senate is a challenging and important opportunity for public service. I deeply appreciate the loyalty and friendship of those who have urged me to run and who believe I could perform a service for the people of New York.

However, in fairness to them, and to end speculation, I wish to state that I will not be a candidate for United States Senator for New York.”

Mr. Kennedy sent word of his decision to President Johnson but did not discuss it with him before the announcement this afternoon.

He made his final decision last Saturday at Northampton, Mass. He had rushed there to see his brother, Senator Edward Kennedy, after a plane crash in which Edward was seriously injured, and the crash spurred him to make his decision immediately.

His brother’s injuries put even heavier family responsibilities on the Attorney General, who was already acting as the senior member of the large Kennedy family. The accident also meant that his brother could not help him campaign if he chose to run in New York.

But these were only last-minute additions to the more basic reasons that, the Attorney General’s friends say, weighed against the Senate race.

Most important was his unwillingness to take time away from civil rights problems, which will almost certainly be acute this summer. Mr. Kennedy spent much of today, for example, dealing with the case of three young civil rights workers missing in Mississippi.

Support this project at


bottom of page