The Year the Middle of the Road Was Crowded

Bettmann / CORBIS

Republican Gov. George Romney

Democratic enthusiasts claimed victory —they called it "commanding," "massive," "smashing" and "a landslide." Some landslide. In arithmetical terms, the off-year elections of 1962 were almost a standoff. And in their portent to U.S. politics for the next two years, they meant difficult legislative going for the Democratic Kennedy Administration and the possibility of real trouble in 1964. The overall results:

∙ GOVERNORS. Numerically, it was a draw. With some races so close that the official results might not be known for weeks, it appeared that Democrats had taken over six chairs previously held by Republicans; it also seemed that Republicans had...

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