John F. Kennedy 1960 presidential campaign

The 1960 presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy, then United States Senator from Massachusetts, began on January 2, 1960, when Kennedy formally announced his candidacy for 35th President of the United States, replacing incumbent President of the United States Dwight D. Eisenhower. Kennedy was nominated by the Democratic Party at the Democratic National Convention of 1960, taking place between July 11 and July 15, 1960. On July 15, 1960, Kennedy named Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas as his official running mate. Kennedy and Johnson won the election on November 8, 1960, defeating incumbent Vice President and Republican nominee Richard Nixon, who would later go on to be the 37th President of the United States. Kennedy and Johnson were sworn in as 35th President and 37th Vice President of the United States on January 20, 1961 respectively. Kennedy would serve as President of the United States until his death in November 1963.

Kennedy for President
Campaign1960 United States presidential election
CandidateJohn F. Kennedy
United States Senator from Massachusetts

Lyndon B. Johnson
Senate Majority Leader

United States Senator from Texas
AffiliationDemocratic Party
StatusAnnounced: January 2, 1960
Nominated: July 11, 1960
Won election: November 8, 1960
SloganA Time For Greatness

On January 5, Kennedy received the endorsement of Michael DiSalle.[1]

Kennedy won the New Hampshire primary on March 8 without facing any opposition.[2] After the results came in, Kennedy expressed enthusiasm while in Madison: "I'm very happy about it; we did better than I thought we would."[3]

The next primary was in Wisconsin. The year prior to the primaries, in June 1959, Kennedy met Jerry Bruno, who had organized the campaign of William Proxmire for the U.S. Senate, JFK making the request for the latter to open a campaign headquarters for him in Milwaukee.[4] On January 21, 1960, Kennedy announced his intent to compete in Wisconsin.[1] Days before the primary, Kennedy said it had been the "toughest, closest, most meaningful".[5]

Humphrey's entry into the Wisconsin primary gave the Kennedy campaign the two objectives of decisively defeating him in most parts of the state to end his candidacy altogether and portray JFK's national appeal at capturing votes.[4] In the West Virginia primary, one of the goals the Kennedy campaign had was to financially weaken Humphrey's campaign, alongside the use of attack ads against him.[6]


  1. Pietrusza, David (2008). 1960: LBJ Vs. JFK Vs. Nixon : the Epic Campaign that Forged Three Presidencies. Union Square Press. pp. 79–80. ISBN 978-1402761140.
  2. O'Brien, Michael (2006). John F. Kennedy: A Biography. St. Martin's Griffin. p. 444. ISBN 978-0312357450.
  3. Fulton, William (March 10, 1960). "Many Factors Aid Kennedy's N.H. Triumph". Chicago Tribune.
  4. Savage, Sean J. (2004). JFK, LBJ, and the Democratic Party. State University of New York Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-0791461693.
  5. "Press Wisconsin Campaign; Sen. Kennedy, Humphrey In Final Drive". Chicago Tribune. April 3, 1960.
  6. Savage, p. 54.
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