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President Johnson suffered two major political defeats yesterday at the hands of Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy (D-Minn.).
McCarthy won 16 of the 52 Minnesota delegate votes to the National Convention. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune's political analyst called the election "one of the most stunning upsets in Minnesota history."
Of the 36 remaining votes, Johnson supporters control at least 20. Five of the others will be decided by the end of the week. The rest will be determined at a Democratic State Convention in July.
In Massachusetts, Johnson backers conceded the state's 72 convention votes to McCarthy yesterday as talk of a write-in for Johnson died down. McCarthy supporters held an early victory party in Boston last night "to show the press that we really think we won," as one worker put it.
Hundreds of St. Paul, Minn., nuns along with thousands of other Democratic voters, turned out in unprecedented numbers to 3700 precinct caucuses Tuesday night to vote for McCarthy.
The results, subject to ratification later by county and congressional district conventions, showed McCarthy with three of the state's eight districts and the possibility of taking a fourth. Each of the eight districts has five delegate votes, the other 12 votes are controlled by the State convention where McCarthy supporters may have a majority.
The Minnesota senior Senator took the three Minneapolis-St. Paul district with 60 to 70 per cent of the vote. Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey has always been strong in his home area, and Tuesday's results are regarded by many observers as a strong rebuff. Four members of his own family, including his own son and daughter, were defeated in the voting for district delegates in the McCarthy landslide.
The stunning upset (McCarthy backers only predicted taking two congressional districts) was attributed Wednesday to armies of thousands of college students "who put together one most effective organizations this area has ever seen," according to one state political reporter.
University of Minnesota students took over several wards of Minneapolis and gave McCarthy a 9-1 victory in the precincts surrounding their area.
In Massachusetts, the full impact of Johnson's refusal to run or substitute a stand-in began to be felt yesterday. Many of the Bay State's most prominent political figures withdrew their names from the statewide delegation list yester- "NA," ten "moved," and the remaining five leaning toward Johnson or undecided. One canvasser said that he had been given 25 cards all at the same address, and when he got there he found that the address was a trailer camp with over 75 vehicles in it. After going from trailer to trailer and being told that "Mr. Jones had that space next door four years ago," he gave up, and marked all 25 cards "NA."
STILL, the spirit of the volunteers and of the campaign continues to get stronger. The students feel that their work is having an impact, and that, just possbily, it may lead to a strong McCarthy showing in New Hampshire.
The Senator himself is pleased with the canvassers' enthusiasm and support. For the past two weekends, those working throughout the state have gathered together on Saturday night for a massive mixer-type party. And at both occasions Senator McCarthy was there to offer them encouragement, congratulations, and gratitude. He signed autographs, shook hands, smiled a lot, and made it all seem worthwhile. He says his army of students is something "America has never seen before" and that his campaign could never have progressed so quickly without their help.
The response in New Hampshire has been encouraging. The vigor and enthusiasm that the student canvassers have brought to the Granite State has not been ignored by the voters. They have been surprised and usually fairly receptive to the volunteers. And this, of course, helps the Senator. As the McCarthy coordinator in Nashua told the canvassers this past Saturday night, "The people in Nashua like you, and if the people in Nashua like you, they like Senator McCarthy."
Whether or not McCarthy does well in Tuseday's primary, he has succeeded in bringing a large number of young people back into politics. He has shown the canvassers that there are sincere, intelligent men in positions of importance who think as they do, who feel repugnance toward the war and what they feel it has done to America
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