Scott vs. Blatt
"Hugh Scott carries the banner of moderate, progressive, forward-looking Republicanism into this campaign. He knows the most about the liberal Republican cause. He represents the high tradition of enlightened and progressive thinking in the Republican Party."--U.S. Senator Jacob K. Javits (R-N.Y.) speaking at a testimonial dinner for Hugh Scott at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia, October 20, 1964. Sen. Scott is at his side.
"Hugh Scott is a man who fights not only for Pennsylvania but also for constitutional government."--Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) speaking at a Republican fund-raising dinner in Philadelphia's Convention Hall, Oct. 21, 1964. Scott is campaigning in Pittsburgh.
These are battle cries--one welcome and one not so welcome--in the fight for survival of one more member of the liberal wing of the Republican Party. For if President Johnson sweeps Pennsylvania on Tuesday, he may well defeat Scott and bring into the Senate Miss Genevieve Blatt, Democratic state Secretary of Internal Affairs.
After 16 years in the House and one term in the Senate, Scott's political future is seriously threatened, and mostly because of the Goldwater nomination. Scott, Republican National Chairman in 1948-49, was the floor manager for Pennsylvania Gov. William W. Scranton's attempt to gain the presidential nomination last July. During the Convention he issued statements as strong as Scranton's against the conservative nominee-to-be, and he led the fight to secure liberal amendments to the G.O.P platform.
For weeks after San Francisco Scott was silent about his decision on Goldwater: he finally issued a weak endorsement of Republican candidates "on all levels," following Scranton's lead. According to state party bylaws, Scott might have been kept off the ballot had he failed to endorse his party's ticket; the successful wooing of state chairman Craig Truax and his organization by Goldwater forces also put pressure on Scott. And the conservative business men who support the party financially were disposed to "harmony." In addition, the sentiments of other statewide candidates and of the majority of Pennsylvania's large Republican Congressional delegation contributed to Scott's unity decision.
Paradoxically, Scott's ambiguous stand on the Goldwater nomination may in the end pull out victory for him, but at the same time, it has brought him a myriad of problems and campaign difficulties. When Goldwater toured conservative Philadelphia suburbs last week, and Scott avoided him once more, staunch Republicans appeared with signs asking, "Where is Hugh Scott?" On one campaign jaunt, Scott's collar was seized by an elderly party woman who insisted, "Just say his name! You have to say his name!" But Scott says the name as seldom as possible, and he has yet to appear with Goldwater or William E. Miller in the state.
"Gen" Blatt is not one to watch calmly from the sidelines. At every possible occasion, she seeks to tie Scott and Goldwater together, and she proclaims--with some success--"I am comfortable with the top of my ticket, but he is not." A 51-year-old attorney from Pittsburgh, Miss Blatt rose through the state Democratic ranks, until in 1954 she became the first woman elected to statewide office in Pennsylvania. She has been re-elected twice, and in 1962 she was the sole Democratic survivor of a GOP victoryalat put Scranton in Harrisburg. When she did not get state organization backing last spring, she entered the Democratic Senatorial primary against State Supreme Court Justice Michael Angelo Musmanno, at the urging of her mentor, Sen. Joseph S. Clark. After months of fighting in the courts, she was declared the nominee with a margin of 491 votes out of a million cast.
Scott himself was elected to the Senate in 1958 in an upset victory over former Gov. George M. Leader (who ran Musmanno's unsuccessful primary campaign this year). During six months in the Senate, the Philadelphia has compiled a fairly liberal voting record (he got a 68 per cent rating from the ADA this year, and somewhat less from the Americans for Constitutional Action), with strong support for civil rights and federal spending programs. He has been responsible for measures designed to improve the lot of the state's coal industries and their employees, and in 1962 persuaded President Kennedy to order the purchase of more domestic and less foreign coal. He made headlines over the past year during the Bobby Baker investigation. He has joined Sen. Clark in an unusual bipartisan "Report to the People" on television in non-campaign years. He was instrumental in securing the 1962 gubernatorial nomination for Scranton and, though a maverick on many issues, he has achieved a position of leadership within the state party organization.
Despite the delay in Miss Blatt's certification as the Democratic candidate, the campaign began early and furiously, and both Scott and Blatt have been wiping mud from their eyes for weeks. By Tuesday they will each have covered virtually every inch of the state several times over, and will have participated in several impromptu "debates."
When she is not assaulting Goldwater, Miss Blatt attacks Scott's "ineffective" legislative record and particular votes on measures over the last 22 years. She has argued, basically, a program similar to Sen. Clark's, with pledges to support the Johnson administration enthusiastically. In a state where more women than men are registered to vote she has used the resources of Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson wisely and often suggests: "Maybe the fact that I'm a woman would allow me to bring a new viewpoint to the Senate."
As the campaign moves on, Miss Blatt has overcome some of her natural disadvantages as a woman candidate. Last week in Philadelphia, she visited with longshoremen and--with an appropriate quick change--proceeded to chat with workers at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She continually makes the point that she will try to assure every man a good job.
Scott, who would be a heavy favorite without the Goldwater albatross, looks at a newly achieved Democratic registration edge of 125,000, and runs scared. Armed with a fistful of endorsements by virtually every major newspaper in the state (most of which also support President Johnson), he has run on his record in Congress and accused his opponent of distorting it for votes. He has raced up and down the state in both a helicopter and a "Hugh Scott Bandwagon," with a large and vigorous campaign staff whose average age is about 30. Despite a lag in contributions to the state Republican Committee this year, Scott's campaign is expected to be the most expensive in the state party's history. He has, for example, conducted live telethon question-and-answer sessions in every major city.
Scott's polls now give him a 57-43 lead over Miss Blatt, and she has been slipping in normally Democratic strongholds in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. One explanation for her lag has been the widespread defections from the ticket among Negroes, Jews, and especially Italians. Still bitter over a series of questions Clark addressed to Musmanno about his background during the primary the Italians shout agreement with Scott's charge of "bigotry," in the Blatt campaign. (She records that it is "bigotry" to charge this.)
Miss Blatt, who achieved her primary victory on the basis of contested vote counts in several Philadelphia wards, has been challenged by Scott to match his $4,995 contribution (half the cost) to a non-partisan group which will supervise the polls and vote-counting in Philadelphia Tuesday. In a recent debate Miss Blatt reached into her purse and gave Scott five dollars for this purpose, after he had implored her to contribute "even a dollar" from her campaign funds.
Long an expert on political appeal to crucial ethnic minorities, Scott has keyed appeals to every discernible group in the state. Measurable success has resulted from several of them, including an endorsement of Scott by several influential NAACP leaders and by the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Negro newspapers.
With the other members of the state ticket almost sure to be defeated and a possible loss of two or three Republican Congressional seats, the party organization in the state has all but officially embarked on a "Save Scott" crusade. In addition, "Democrats for Scott" and "Independents for Scott" (there are also "Friends of Scott," "Progressive Pennsylvanians for Scott," "Healing Arts Committee for Scott," "Lawyers for Scott," Veterans for Scott," etc.) have begun to distribute ticket-splitting information in huge quantities. (Most of the state votes on machines, which include prominent instructions in straight ticket voting.)
Pennsylvanians have split their tickets time and again: Clark was elected to his first term by the narrowest of margins while President Eisenhower swept the state in 1956; in 1958 a Democratic governor and Republican Senator were elected; and in 1962 a Republican governor and Democratic Senator were chosen by similar margins.
But there has never been a Goldwater in Pennsylvania before. Even if Scott runs ahead of the national ticket by 500,000 votes, as expected, the Johnson margin may swallow him. "Belive in Geneieve" or not, the people may trade "Great Scott" in for her next week in one of the country's closest races.