Governor Rockefeller for Governor: The 1966 New York Gubernatorial Campaign

by Marsha Barrett

Jan 1, 2012
On November 8, 1966, the Republican Party won impressive electoral gains across the nation -- forty-seven new seats in the House, three in the Senate, and eight gubernatorial wins. The G.O.P. continued its advances in the no-longer-solid South and maintained its presence in northern industrial centers, while continuing its traditional dominance in the Midwest. These victories were a great relief after Goldwater's staggering loss to Johnson two years before. Candidates who represented the party's right and left wings had impressive wins: Ronald Reagan defeated an incumbent to become the governor of California, Edward Brooke won a U.S. Senate seat from Massachusetts, and Senator Clifford Case of New Jersey won reelection. RNC Chairman Ray Bliss downplayed the divisions between the party's moderates and conservatives by encouraging tolerance within the party. He also sought to rebuild the party on the foundation of sound financing, organization, and Republican rhetoric on fiscal responsibility, which, for him, meant blaming the Democratic Party for the nation's rising rate of inflation. Immediately after Goldwater's loss, Bliss told the public that the party was big enough to comprise men as different as Goldwater and Jacob Javits -- if the Democrats could "settle their differences," so too could the Republicans "develop a strong united front." While Democrats were able to win major gains in 1964, Republican victories in 1966 suggested that the era of Democrats settling their internal differences was nearing its conclusion. Republicans became the new champions of party
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