Premaries in the 1952 Race for President
Special significance of primaries in 1952
Presidential primaries to be held this spring in 16 states are attracting more attention than in any election year during the last two decades. As always, the pre-convention voting will test the relative strength of rival candidates for nomination to the presidency. But this year the primaries will have special influence in forcing the hands of potential candidates who have been holding their political cards close to the vest.
The New Hampshire primary, which leads off on Mar. 11, has already evoked from Gen. Dwight Eisenhower a firm answer to one of two questions of prime interest to the public and of vital importance to party managers: Is he a Republican or a Democrat? He is a Republican. Would he accept the presidential nomination of his party if offered? He will “not seek nomination to political office”; under no circumstances will he ask for relief from his European assignment for that purpose, and he will not participate in preconvention activities of others on his behalf. In the absence of a “clear-cut call to political duty” he will continue to devote all his energies to his present task.
Prior to Eisenhower's Jan. 7 disclosure of his alignment with the Republican party, leaders of both parties in New Hampshire had announced their intention to file petitions to put the general's name on their primary ballots. Because the New Hampshire law requires that petitioners affirm membership in the party of the man they support, and because the filing period in that state closes on Jan. 30, an answer on Eisenhower's politics could not have been delayed beyond the end of the present month if his name was to be entered at all. A further provision that a candidate's name must be printed on the New Hampshire ballots unless he withdraws it within ten days of notification that a petition has been filed on his behalf, will clarify Eisenhower's position by producing either a definite withdrawal before Feb. 10 or what will amount to consent by silence.