Virginia Magazine of History and Biography
The presidential campaign of 1964 became a significant turning point in Virginia politics as the 24th Amendment eliminated poll taxes, black political organizations organized voter registration drives, and suburbanites, newcomers, and recent college graduates were attracted to the Republican Party. Republican candidates had made strong showings in elections in 1962 and 1963, due in part to the policies of the Kennedy administration. Democratic Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr., publicly opposed many of the fiscal and social policies of the Kennedy-Johnson administration, creating difficulty among Republicans in choosing someone to oppose him. His position also created a rift among pro- and anti-Johnson Democrats, effectively splitting the Democratic Party and creating tension among Republicans who supported Byrd. The Virginia Democratic Party rebuffed Byrd by endorsing Johnson's candidacy, leading breakaway Democrats for Goldwater to found the Virginia Conservative Party in 1965. An additional factor in the 1964 presidential campaign was the surge in political activity among African Americans, particularly in Richmond, Norfolk, and the Southside.
Original Publication Citation
Sweeney, J.R. (1994). A new day in the Old Dominion. Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 102(3), 307-348.
Sweeney, James R., "A New Day in the Old Dominion" (1994). History Faculty Publications. 8.