Primary Fight

August 13, 2020

About This Episode

Sixty years ago, Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon would face off in one of the closest elections in the nation’s history, an election that would leave lasting impacts on future races right into today.

For our first episode, we’ll look at the primary race that created the opportunity for Kennedy's insurgent campaign to take the democratic presidential nomination, and how it would blaze new trails for campaigns to come.

Featuring interviews from David Axelrod, Fredrick Logevall, and Tim Naftali.

View the transcript for this episode.

From the JFK Library Archives

IFP:83B JFK Announces Candidacy for President, Universal Newsreel/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Example of John F. Kennedy Wisconsin Stump Speech, Papers of John F. Kennedy. Pre-Presidential Papers. Presidential Campaign Files, 1960. Speeches and the Press. Speeches, Statements, and Sections, 1958-1960. The Presidency: Wisconsin primary.

16RNC:187 Kennedy-Humphrey Debate, 1960 WV Primary, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, Victoria Schuck Political Film Collection.

“You and Kennedy” West Virginia Campaign Spot, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

From the JFK Library

Winning West Virginia, JFK Library Exhibit, 2010.

New Frontiers Newsletter: Winning the West Virginia Primary, Department of Education and Public Programs, JFK Presidential Library and Museum. Spring 2010.

Kennedy Library Forum: The 50th Anniversary of the West Virginia Primary, CSPAN Video, May 12, 2010.

See full source list for this series.


Hosts and producers: Matt Porter and Jamie Richardson

Co-producer: Rick King

Research assistants: Megan McKee and Cassie Marando.

Special thanks to our Foundation colleagues, in particular Meaghan Hohl and Executive Director Rachel Flor.

We also thank all of our guests for lending their voices and expertise to this podcast.

None of this would be possible without the work by archivists and other staff at the JFK Library and Museum, who make much of the material discussed available to all online and to visiting researchers.

Audio clips with permission from CNN and MSNBC.

Logo: Brian Kang

Music: Blue.Sessions