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Rocky Thinks Trend Favors His Candidacy

May 16, 1964 - New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, buoyed by his impressive victory in the Oregon Presidential primary, declared today that the “trend” in his favor should carry over into the California primary on June 2.

While hesitating to predict outright that he would defeat Senator Barry Goldwater in California, the Governor confidently declared at a news conference at Rockefeller national campaign headquarters on Madison Avenue that the brand of “progressive” Republicanism he represented would turn back the threat of extremists taking over the Republican party.

The California primary, the last in which rank-and-file Republican sentiment can be gauged at the ballot box before the Republican National Convention in July, is generally regarded as the ultimate test for Goldwater.

If the Senator is the victor in California, virtually all significant political people, including Rockefeller, believe he will win the Republican nomination for President.

On the other hand, if Rockefeller defeats the Arizona Senator on June 2, it is believed that Goldwater’s nomination prospects will fade.

Then either Rockefeller or a compromise contender like Richard M. Nixon or Governor William Scranton of Pennsylvania would be expected to emerge as the party’s standard bearer.

Goldwater’s views, Rockefeller said today, “do not reflect the thinking of the great majority of Republican voters.”

But he would not say that the possible nomination of Goldwater for President would insure the reelection of President Johnson. “We want to come out of the convention as a unified Republican party that will win in November,” he said.

Goldwater, who was reported to be angry at reports that supporters of Rockefeller and Henry Cabot Lodge had been attempting to combine to stop his nomination, said today: “If I dropped dead today, Rockefeller couldn’t get the nomination, and Lodge is now as dead as dead can be.” He said he still expected to win in California in a close race.

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