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Commentary: Kennedy connection: Rowan voters not keen on JFK

By Caitlin Crawford
For the Salisbury Post
With all the publicity surrounding Sen. Ted Kennedy’s death, it seems only appropriate to reflect on how the Kennedys have affected the Rowan County area.
The 1960 presidential election was a record year in terms of voter turnout. In this election, Vice President Richard Nixon had been the favorite to win Rowan County over Democrat John F. Kennedy. And with a few exceptions, that was the outcome.
Kennedy showed the most strength in the Salisbury, Spencer and East Spencer areas. However, those votes were not enough to offset the votes Nixon received from the rest of the county. Nixon won Rowan County by a margin of more than 4,000 votes.
The majority of Rowan County also voted Republican in the race for governor, favoring Robert Gavin over Terry Sanford.
Although Rowan County voted more on the Republican side, North Carolina as a whole voted Democratic. The Republican count for North Carolina stood at 643,111, while the Democratic vote stood at 709,111.
When the news of Sen. Robert Kennedy’s shooting on June 6, 1968, reached the ears of North Carolinians, it was decided that the N.C. Democratic Convention would not be postponed.
Most Salisburians were not Kennedy supporters but still found his assassination reprehensible. Most people could only ask themselves “Why?” and “Is this what our country is really coming to?”
The people of Salisbury did not think that tighter laws were the answer; rather, they believed in more enforcement and respect for the laws already in place.
– – –
Caitlin Crawford, a student at North Rowan High School, is serving an internship at the Salisbury Post.

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