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Research Guides

Senator Henry M. Jackson, 1912-1983: Campaigns

The portal provides a general overview of key archival, printed, and visual resources in UW Libraries Special Collections that document Senator Jackson's long and distinguished career in public service.

Campaigns for Public Office

Jackson's many campaigns for election, and re-election, are extensively documented throughout his papers. Particularly useful series include Campaign Papers, Speeches and Writings, Clippings (Scrapbooks), Subject Series, Committee Records and Aides' Papers and Trip Files.

Other series to be consulted include Artifacts, Campaign Ephemera, Photographic and Graphic Materials, Moving Images, and Sound Recordings.

Campaign for Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney (1938)


While working for the law firm Black and Rucker, Jackson ran for Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney against incumbent Al Swanson. Jackson's friend John L. Salter took over as his campaign manager, Gerry Hoeck managed media and marketing, and Jackson's sister Gertrude was an avid participant in door-to-door canvassing on behalf of her brother's candidacy. In the September primaries, Jackson easily defeated Swanson and later won the general election, beating his Republican opponent Tom Stiger. Jackson was twenty-six years old.

Campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives (1940 - 1950)


Vote for Henry M. Jackson for Congress.


Vote for a Man who has the Courage of his Convictions.

Prior to announcing his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives, Henry M. Jackson had already made a name for himself as the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney, by mandating the removal of all pinball and slot machines in the county, an act that earned him the nickname “Soda Pop Jackson." The publicity he received from a high-profile double homicide case cemented his reputation in the region, garnering him the recognition he needed to step into the race for U.S. Representative.

During the summer of 1940, Lewis Schwellenbach abandoned his Congressional seat for the Second District in Washington state to become a federal judge, and Jackson announced his candidacy to replace Schwellenbach in the Everett Herald, on August 16, 1940. Jackson, John L. Salter, and a network of volunteers, embarked on a comprehensive door-to-door campaign to usher Jackson into the U.S. Congress. Jackson beat his Democratic opponents Howard Bargreen and Pat Hurley in the primaries, and later his Republican opponent, Payson Peterson, in the general election. At just twenty-eight years old, Henry M. Jackson was Washington state's newly elected representative for the Second District.

Congressman Jackson would be reelected 5 times to his seat for the 2nd District, each time defeating his Republican opponents by a significant margin.

Campaigns for the U.S. Senate (1952 - 1982)


On his fortieth birthday, May 31, 1952, Congressman Jackson announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate, running against Republican incumbent Harry P. Cain. Jackson and his staff had already begun compiling information on Cain prior to the announcement of Jackson's candidacy. Jackson's critique of Cain was mostly centered on his performance in the areas of national defense and public power. Jackson's campaign stressed the Congressman's integrity and record of accomplishments in the House. Gerry Hoeck joined the Jackson team to oversee the media campaign, which created and posted large billboards throughout the state, which featured a portrait of the seasoned Congressman and the slogan, "Jackson will make a great U.S. Senator."

Senator Warren G. Magnuson also stepped in to assist the Jackson campaign, a reciprocal relationship that would continue throughout both legislators' overlapping Senatorial careers. Senators Magnuson and Jackson would come to be known for their tremendous help in getting fellow Democrats in the state of Washington elected to political office, among them, Brock Adams, Lloyd Meeds, Floyd Hicks, Tom Foley, and Mike McCormack. Despite the fact that the Republican Party gained control of the Congress and of the Executive Branch in 1952, Congressman Jackson defeated his Republican opponent, Harry P. Cain, joining Warren G. Magnuson in representing Washington in the U.S. Senate.

Jackson is doing a Great job.

In the run-up to his 1964 re-election campaign, Senator Jackson received heated opposition from Republican opponent Lloyd J. Andrews, who distributed literature blaming Jackson for the loss of the TFX defense contract for Boeing in Everett, Washington, a controversy that earned Jackson the moniker "Senator from Boeing." In spite of this, Jackson was reelected to the U.S. Senate, defeating Lloyd J. Andrews by a clear margin of 72 percent.

In 1970, for the first time Jackson faced serious opposition from his own party in Washington state, in large part because of Senator Jackson's "hawkish" views on national defense, The Washington Democratic Council (WDC) withdrew their support, nominating Carl Maxey, a Spokane-area African-American attorney, for U.S. Senator. The King County Democrats followed, officially throwing their support behind Maxey at the King County Democratic Convention in March 1970. Maxey's campaign platform singled out Jackson's stance on military spending and Cold War foreign policy. Nevertheless, Senator Jackson once again easily won the Democratic nomination in the primaries, defeating Maxey by 87 percent, and later defeated Republican opponent Charles W. Elicker in the November election with 84 percent of the vote.

In 1982, at 70 years of age, Jackson ran for his sixth and final term as U.S. Senator for Washington state. Warren G. Magnuson had lost his bid for re-election two years earlier, and the Republican Party had once again swept the Congress and taken the Presidency, when Ronald R. Reagan defeated President Jimmy Carter in his bid for re-election. Senator Jackson's opponents, Douglas Jewett and King Lysen, attacked Jackson for his continued support of increased military spending and of the nuclear freeze. Senator Jackson's campaign placed nuclear arms reduction, the environment, Social Security, and public power, at the forefront of his re-election efforts, and weathered attacks by Douglas Jewett on the disposal of radioactive waste. Environmentalist and Western Washington University professor Ruth Weiner came to Senator Jackson's defense, issuing a statement in a press conference that addressed Jewett, his campaign tactics, and his fundamental lack of interest in the radioactive waste issue. In November 1982, Henry M. Jackson was re-elected to his sixth and, what proved to be, final term, defeating both his opponents by 69 percent.

1960 Vice Presidential Bid



Senator Henry Jackson makes sense as Vice-President (iv)

Senator Jackson's role in the Army-McCarthy hearings, as well as his record on foreign policy and national defense, helped to lay the groundwork for his first chance at executive office. Through his work in the hearings, he had established a close friendship with Robert F. Kennedy, and with Robert's brother, Senator John F. Kennedy. When Senator Kennedy was selected as the Democratic Party's nominee for President in 1961, Jackson was considered a likely running mate. The Jackson staff mounted a hopeful campaign for Jackson for Vice President, creating signs, buttons, and stationery reminiscent of the style of his earlier Congressional and Senate campaigns.

During the Democratic National Convention that summer in Los Angeles, pressure to capture the votes of Southern Democrats in what was shaping up to be a tight national race persuaded Kennedy to select Lyndon Baines Johnson, of Texas, as his Vice Presidential running mate. Disappointed, Jackson nevertheless delivered a rousing nomination speech endorsing Johnson's candidacy for Vice President. He also agreed to serve as the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Not long after Kennedy's national victory over former Republican Vice-President, Richard M. Nixon, Jackson stepped down from the chairmanship of the DNC to return full time to the Senate.

1972 Presidential Campaign
1972 Democratic Presidential Candidates
Senator Henry M. Jackson (Washington)
Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm (New York)
Senator Fred R. Harris (Oklahoma)
Senator Hubert H. Humphrey (Minnesota)
Mayor John Lindsay (New York)
Eugene McCarthy (Minnesota)
Senator George McGovern (South Dakota)
Congressman Wilbur Mills (Arkansas)
Senator Edmund Muskie (Maine)
Governor George Wallace (Alabama)
Mayor Sam Yorty (California)
Terry Sanford (North Carolina)

 After testing the waters throughout the spring and summer, in November 1971 Jackson officially announced that he would run for President in 1972. During the 1972 campaign, Jackson countered charges from both the Left and the Right, that he was either "too liberal" or "too conservative." He characterized himself instead as a mainstream Democrat, an advocate for the "little people" and the "underdog" in society, and in line with the post-war Democratic Party legacies of Presidents Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson, continuing their emphasis on containment as an effective Cold War national defense strategy, and on ensuring opportunity for the American people through job growth and employment security.

Senator Jackson announces his candidacy. (play audio)

Senator Warren G. Magnuson signed on to the Jackson campaign as honorary chairman. S. Sterling Munro served as the campaign's manager, and Hyman Raskin as campaign advisor. Gerry Hoeck managed the Jackson media campaign, as he had in previous elections. Stan Golub, served as campaign treasurer, and Brian Corcoran as Press Secretary. Ben Wattenberg, a speech writer for President Lyndon B. Johnson and co-author of The Real Majority, served as chief strategist for "Jackson for President."

Jackson ran on a platform of that was "hawkish" on national defense. He also emphasized law and order, spoke out against forced busing, and placed employment at the center of his agenda. Campaign commercials and radio spots targeted crime, the state of the farming industry, inflation, the space shuttle program, Social Security, the environment, Medicare, and employment.

Jackson faced strong opposition from the New Left wing of the Democratic Party, which viewed the Senator as a "Cold Warrior," fundamentally not much different than his Republican opponent. Although Senator Jackson was supported widely by Democrats in the Southern states, ultimately he was no competition for Governor George Wallace of Alabama, who had a significant advantage as a Southern Democrat.

Finances and name recognition also hindered Senator Jackson's ability to make decisive strides in the campaign. Much of his financing came from Republican supporters, a fact Jackson went to great lengths to disguise. Jackson placed third in the Florida primary, fifth in the Wisconsin primary, and lost again in Ohio.

Attending the Democratic National Convention that July, in Miami, Florida, Senator Jackson and others mounted an "Anybody But McGovern" campaign. Nevertheless, Senator George McGovern of South Dakota received the Party's nomination, and Jackson eventually publicly endorsed the McGovern candidacy in late October, at an event held at the Seattle Center.

"I intend to speak forthrightly and directly to the people and I feel very confidently that the people of this country are right for that sort of thing. I'm going to take my coat off and roll up my sleeves, a little bit of a la Harry Truman and tell it like it is."

-Senator Jackson Presidential announcement, circa 1971 (vii)

1976 Presidential Campaign
1976 Democratic Presidential Candidates
Senator Henry M. Jackson (Washington)
Senator Birch Bayh (Indiana)
Senator Lloyd Bentsen (Texas)
Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. (California)
Senator Robert Byrd (West Virginia)
Governor Jimmy Carter (Georgia)
Senator Frank Church (Idaho)
Fred R. Harris (Oklahoma)
Terry Sanford (North Carolina)
Governor Milton Shapp (Pennsylvania)
Sargent Shriver
Senator Adlai Stevenson III (Illinois)
Congressman Morris Udall (Arizona)
Governor George Wallace (Alabama)


Let's have a Senator who does something.

Senator Jackson's 1976 Presidential bid was announced at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on February 7, 1975

By the time of this second run for President, Jackson enjoyed substantially stronger name recognition, both nationally and internationally. He had played a prominent role in the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) negotiations, and had successfully co-sponsored the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to the U.S. Trade Act. He also had participated in Permanent Subcommittee Investigations that prompted high profile hearings against seven major oil executives.

Personal integrity, again, was featured as a cornerstone of the Jackson campaign, and he strove to present himself as a middle-of-the-road candidate on major political issues. Despite significant differences with members of his own party, Senator Jackson reconciled with Democratic leaders, issuing political endorsements and campaigning publicly for key Party members in their own states.

Once again, trusted and experienced Jackson staff members held prominent positions in his campaign. Robert Keefe served as campaign manager while S. Sterling Munro, manager of Jackson's 1972 campaign, became Jackson's chief of staff. Attorney Walter T. Skallerup served as campaign treasurer, Brian Corcoran took over the national press operation, and Richard Kline coordinated fundraising.

Jackson campaign staff supplemented the campaign's routine fundraising through targeted canvassing of labor and of the Jewish-American community, with which he had become particularly closely aligned as a result of his work on behalf of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. Jackson initially ran well in early primaries, but eventually lost to Governor Jimmy Carter, of Georgia, in a series of later races. With dwindling financial support, Jackson withdrew from the campaign in May, and eventually endorsed the Carter candidacy. He subsequently revealed that he was retiring from Presidential aspirations altogether and announced his intention to run for a 5th term in the Senate.


Elect Senator Scoop Jackson while there's still time to save the seventies.




Kaufman, Robert G. 2000. Henry M. Jackson: a life in politics. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Ognibene, Peter J. 1975. Scoop: the life and politics of Henry M. Jackson. New York: Stein and Day.

Prochnau, William W. and Richard W. Larsen. 1972. A certain Democrat: Senator Henry M. Jackson; a political biography. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

[i] 3560-016, Box 1, folder 1, item 1: 1941 U.S. House of Representatives, Business card, Henry M. Jackson for Congress, 2nd District, 1940

[ii] 3560-016, box 1, folder 7, item 14: 1965 Senatorial, The Jackson for Senate Re-Election Committee, Seattle, Washington, 1964

[iii] 3560-016, box 1, folder 10, item 24: 1971 Senatorial, Senator Jackson for Re-Election Committee, Citizens for Senator Henry M. Jackson, Donald Voorhees, Chairman, Seattle, Washington, 1971

[iv] 3560-016, box 3, folder 1, item 48: 1960 Vice Presidential, Senator Henry Jackson makes sense as Vice-President, 1960

[v] 3560-016, box 1, folder 3, item 5: 1952 Senatorial, Jackson, Democrat, for U.S. Senator

[vi] 3560-016, box 1, folder 12, item 38: 1972 Presidential, "Jackson '72," Citizens for Jackson, Senator Warren G. Magnuson, Chairman, Seattle, Washington

[vii] 3560-033, item 3560_17_103b_Clip.mp3: Campaign Material, 1952-1982, 1972 Presidential, Announcement of Candidacy, Various news clips of Senator Jackson announcing his presidential candidacy and interview, Meet the Press, NBC News, Washington, D.C., 1971 November