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Rocky Drops Out

June 15, 1964 - New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, the first candidate to enter the Republican Presidential race, withdrew today in favor of Governor William Scranton of Pennsylvania.

In a brief statement released at his New York office, Rockefeller urged moderates in the party to unite behind Scranton as “a candidate in the mainstream of American political thought and action.”

This was the closest the statement came to mentioning Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, the leading candidate for the nomination. After he lost the California on June 2, Rockefeller remarked that if Goldwater was in the mainstream “we’ve got a meandering stream.”

Rockefeller’s campaign aides estimated he would be able to deliver 85 to 88 votes from the 92-member New York delegation to Scranton at the Republican Convention in San Francisco next month. These delegates are not legally bound to the Governor, but since they are from his home state, he is confident of his political control.

In addition, Rockefeller will attempt to give Scranton the 18 delegates he won in Oregon in his only victory in a contested primary.

There are 20 to 25 more delegates pledged to Rockefeller. It is considered likely that they will follow his lead into the Scranton camp.

Scranton, carrying his fight for the nomination into the Midwest, today hailed as a “tremendous boost” Rockefeller’s decision to pull out and support him.

“I appreciate this support from Governor Rockefeller and from anyone,” he told newsmen upon his arrival in Des Moines, Iowa. “I am very thankful and glad to hear of it.”

About 1,000 persons gave Scranton a noisy welcome at the airport. They waved signs reading “Rantin’ for Scranton” and “Iowa’s choice for the GOP voice.” The crowd chanted, “We want Bill!”

But a group of Goldwater backers was on hand too, shouting “We want Barry,” and at times they drowned out Scranton.

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