Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mob Didn't Turn Out Vote for Kennedy: UIC Professor

Friends of ours: Sam Giancana

No, the Mafia did not win the 1960 presidential election for John F. Kennedy, according to a study by a University of Illinois at Chicago professor.

After Kennedy's razor-thin victory over Richard Nixon in Illinois, which cemented Kennedy's lead in the electoral college, Nixon backers blamed Mayor Richard J. Daley's notorious precinct captains for election-night hijinks. But years later, another argument emerged: Kennedy or his father made a deal with the mob to throw the election in Chicago -- and thus Illinois -- to Kennedy.

Author Seymour Hersh made the argument in a 1997 book, The Dark Side of Camelot. Frank Sinatra's daughter, Tina, and Judith Campbell Exner, reputed former mistress of the late president and of late Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana, also made versions of that argument.

To test the theory that the mob turned out the vote in Chicago's 1960 general election, John Binder, a finance professor at UIC, analyzed vote totals for five city wards where the mob reputedly had clout, as well as in Cicero and Chicago Heights.

Those areas performed no differently than the non-mob wards and suburbs, Binder found. "There's really no evidence to support that story," Binder said. "Some of the people telling these stories are nuts."

The Democratic votes in the 1st, 24th, 25th, 28th and 29th wards, as well as in Cicero and Chicago Heights, did not jump any more from Adlai Stevenson in 1956 to Kennedy in 1960 than other comparable wards and townships, he said.

Exner had also said she was sent to deliver money from the Kennedy family to Giancana to help fund union efforts on Kennedy's behalf in the West Virginia primary election in which Kennedy surprised Hubert Humphrey. Binder questions that as well.

"How in God's name is Sam Giancana going to get anything done in West Virginia?" he asked. "They don't have any influence there."

Could the mob's influence in the 1960 Chicago general election have been citywide through the unions as opposed to just the mob-controlled wards? Binder calls that unlikely because Kennedy and his brother had antagonized union leaders during the McClellan hearings.

"There is evidence that unions voted the other way -- they couldn't stand the Kennedys," Binder said.

Thanks to Abdon M. Pallasch

1 comment: