NOVEMBER 6, 1958
NEW YORK—In the elections on a national scale the Democrats have made tremendous gains. Here in the State of New York the trend was reversed and Nelson Rockefeller, the Republican candidate for governor, won by a tremendous majority and carried with him his running mate for the U.S. Senate, Kenneth Keating.
As far as the state goes, I think all good citizens will want to wish Mr. Rockefeller well and congratulate him on the excellent campaign that led to his victory.
On the Democratic side I think the man who stands out as having been the most magnanimous and the best sport is Thomas K. Finletter. Defeated in Buffalo at the nominations convention, he still went in and fought for the ticket, though he must have known quite well that it was a hopeless fight after the spectacle of stupid boss control at the convention.
Governor Averell Harriman has been a good governor but he could not overcome the harm done by the New York City boss. The people spoke in this state with no uncertain voice, and I hope the leader of Tammany Hall has understood it.
This defeat will put good Democrats on their mettle. They will have to be sure that what they offer in the way of policies really is for the good of the city and the state.
The Democratic mayor of New York City with requests for state aid and cooperation will have to go to Albany doubly prepared to show that his appeals have the backing of the people throughout the state as well as in the city.
Mr. Rockefeller will have his problems with his own party boss, and he will not always find it easy to do what I am sure he himself will feel is the right thing to do. However, I feel he will make a fight for his policies.
The new governor has a majority in the legislature and his commanding vote on election day should make it easier for him to move this legislature to carry out more progressive measures than might have been the case with a Democratic governor in the chair. So, if Mr. Rockefeller has determination and independence and sufficient conviction to fight for the things he believes in, he should make some headway.
One thing I read with great pleasure was the news of the reelection of my eldest son, James, to his seat in Congress. This was pleasant news, though not entirely unexpected, for I think in a Democratic year his district could hardly have changed its usual Democratic trend.
Now that the elections are over, those who are finishing out their terms must try to leave as good a record behind as they can and to give their successors as good a chance as possible to make good in the difficult days that are coming ahead.
There will be problems in states all over the land, and many who won on a state-wide basis will be looking ahead to 1960 and making a record which may affect their future in public service.
We hope that ambitions for the future will lead all officeholders, new and old, to do a good job wherever they find themselves. It is what they really accomplish that will count as the people come to the important decisions of 1960.