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Hughes supporters have reacted to the vote their candidate polled Tuesday with anything from disappointment to mild elation.
Several said that a vote of 50,000 meant they were "definitely out of the fringe." Others noted it was one third of what they had expected before the Cuba crisis.
"Many of us underestimated the difficulty of communicating a new set of ideas with a totally new style of politics," said Martin Peretz, a campaign aide of Hughes. "Fifty thousand is many more than we were in the beginning, and represents a working minority."
"We probably expected too much, which is why a lot of us under the initial impact felt let down," Peretz said. Opinion polls taken by the Kennedy organization before the Cuba crisis broke predicted Hughes would poll eight to ten per cent of the vote. He actually received less than a third of that.
The Cuba crisis played a central role in everyone's analysis of the Hughes tally. One campaign worker, bitterly disappointed with the results, had hoped the Cuba crisis would bring the reality of nuclear war close to Massachusetts, and more voters would turn to Hughes.
Most Hughes campaigners expected the nation-wide rallying behind President Kennedy to cut into their potential vote, but they did not know how much. The extent to which it did disappointed many of them.
Meaning of the Vote
Although evaluations of the past campaign differed, most Hughes supporters are in agreement about what it means for the future. "Fifty thousand people who step out of the consensus to vote for a man who says something totally different is a sizable number," said one campaign worker. "Most of the people who lasted through the quite grueling test of Cuba are deeply committed people. We think this represents a sizable peace and disarmament sentiment."
Hughes workers plan to continue their effort to elect "peace candidates" in Massachusetts through an as yet unorganized state standing committee. A group has rented office space in Cambridge to serve as committee headquarters.
The committee will have an executive group of about 12, one source reported, and will maintain contact with coordinators in the major towns and cities of the state.
H. Stuart Hughes himself is refusing to comment on the significance of the vote he polled, pleading that he is overburdened by "academic commitments." He often noted during the campaign that "I am the only candidate with a job." Friends say that Hughes has no plans yet for '64.
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