The Nation: Farley Wins

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Finally Governor Lehman called the meeting to order. There were routine speeches. Governor Lehman looked at his watch; it was now two minutes until aging Senator Robert F. Wagner, prime New Dealer, would place Mead's name in nomination.

Governor Lehman ducked behind the platform, leaned over Jim Farley's chair, pleaded for a last-minute compromise. Jim Farley shook his head. The Governor shrugged. The fight was on.

Near the end of his speech, Senator Wagner launched a rhetorical question: "With our country in danger, I submit there is only one question before us and it is this: Who in Albany can do most to help us dispel that danger and restore us to security?"

This was a sad mistake for the Mead forces. Up welled a great shout: "Bennett!" The cries for Mead were drowned. A few delegates with Mead banners tried to parade, found themselves embarrassingly alone.

Farley Still Had the Votes. The air-conditioning fizzled; the ballroom became an oven; delegates shed coats, opened collars. Jim Farley, seeking comfort, had an outside freight elevator drawn up to an open door behind the platform. There he sat on a gilded ballroom chair, fanning himself with a newspaper. Henchmen and enemies walked over, whispered, walked away.

Bennett was placed in nomination: friendly delegates raised the roof with cheers, paraded for ten minutes through the narrow aisles.

The hour of voting drew close. Mead's backers put on the last ounce of pressure. There was a sudden scurry among the potent men behind the platform; Jim Farley rushed up to the stage, button holed Governor Lehman, took him back to the hotel kitchen. There, away from the turmoil, they conferred for ten minutes. Farley bustled into more conferences, with his friend Frank Kelly, with his enemy Ed Flynn. For the first time, Big Jim looked worried.

The White House-Mead forces had won a point: all delegates must stand up to answer the roll call individually, to put their votes on the record. Henceforth it would be history how they had stood in the fight between Farley and Roosevelt. Now Jim Farley's men would face the final, complete test of loyalty.

Voting was slow. Albany County gave 32 votes to Mead: no surprise. Allegany was next with three for Bennett: no surprise. But when the roll call reached Erie County, the Bennett forces cheered: they picked up 14 votes out of 58 in Mead's own bailiwick. When Kelly's Brooklyn held solidly for Bennett, it was all over. Final count: Bennett 623, Mead 393.

Jim Farley was once again the supreme Democratic boss of New York (and its 94 delegates to national conventions). Farley's Bennett might lose in November. Certainly he faced a stiff fight with aggressive Republican Thomas Dewey (see p. 22). But after the nomination, Jim Farley received more handshakes than Bennett himself. And from all parts of the country telegrams of congratulations from Democratic leaders poured in to the man who had licked Franklin Roosevelt.

Term IV?

Sometime within the next 22 months, Franklin Delano Roosevelt must make a decision. The signs and rumors are that he has already made up his mind: that Franklin Roosevelt, first U.S. President in history to break the Third Term tradition, will be a candidate in 1944 for Term IV.

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