John F. Kennedy’s Time in Montgomery County

Photo courtesy of The White House (Whitehouse.gov)


Originally published in 2020, written by Amy Lusignan

It’s spring of 1960 and the democratic candidates are campaigning for the presidential election. Most candidates are putting a focus on Maryland — a state that doesn’t gain much attention in today’s elections — but John F. Kennedy planned to make the most of his time in Maryland.

Kennedy was determined to win Maryland and “went wooing voters in Maryland,” according to the Washington Post in an article titled “Kennedy Loves Maryland in the Spring.” During Kennedy’s tour of Maryland, he not only traveled to Wheaton Plaza, but all over Montgomery County. The Washington Post, in its May 9, 1960 issue, listed the Democratic candidates’ itinerary for the course of the next few days.

Being an important state to win for the democratic presidential nomination, Kennedy spent ample time traveling around Maryland and its counties. In Montgomery County, Kennedy started his day in Silver Spring, traveled to Bethesda to visit the Bethesda Woman’s Club, and made sure to visit the Rockville County Courthouse. His last stops that day in Montgomery County were Wheaton Plaza Shopping Center and the Indian Spring Country Club. Later, Kennedy held a rally at the University of Maryland in College Park.

Kennedy knew how important it was for him to visit Maryland in order to win the Democratic presidential nomination. He told the Washington Post that great presidents such as Teddy Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin Roosevelt all had to campaign in Maryland. “These men did not neglect Maryland in the spring and Maryland did not forget them in the fall,” he reasoned. And Maryland didn’t disappoint. According to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Kennedy won 70.3% of the votes in the presidential election primary.

Kennedy continued to campaign in Maryland after he won the presidential nomination. During his 1960 campaign, he gave speeches at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring.

Photo courtesy of The White House.

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