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Two Undeclared Candidates May Wreak Havoc in New Hampshire Primary

Feb. 22, 1964 - It is typical of the confusion in the Republican Presidential picture today that the showing of two non-candidates could determine the outcome of the forthcoming New Hampshire primary. While the two chief declared candidates, Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York and Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, battle each other from one snowy ridge to the next, their flanks are exposed to write-in votes for Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge and Richard M. Nixon (pictured in 1960 as running mates), both of whom have kept their names off the ballot. The deep uncertainty over the relative strength of the various Republican leaders, declared and undeclared, is giving the March 10 New Hampshire primary, the first of 1964, a greater importance than was generally assigned to it a couple of months ago.

Former President Harry S. Truman once called the primaries “eyewash,” and it is true that they are not necessarily an essential route to the nomination. Alf Landon, for example, won the Republican nomination in 1936 without entering any primaries, and the same was true of Wendell Willkie in 1940. On the other hand, primaries were anything but eyewash for John F. Kennedy, who swept to the Democratic nomination in Los Angeles in 1960 on the strength of seven consecutive primary victories.

In the confused Republican situation this year, primaries again may provide a way for one aspirant to make a decisive breakthrough. Thus Rockefeller and Goldwater each cherishes the hope of parlaying victories in the New Hampshire, Oregon, and California primaries into the nomination at the Republican National Convention at San Francisco next July. If each is only partially successful or if the primary results are inconclusive, then the convention will be likely to turn to someone else, like Nixon or Governor William Scranton of Pennsylvania. Last fall, it was widely believed that Goldwater would run away with the race. Now, many observers think Rockefeller is within striking distance. As he and Goldwater concentrate on the large undecided vote, the next two weeks will tell the tale.


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