1960 United States Senate election in Massachusetts

← 1954 November 8, 1960 1966 →
Nominee Leverett Saltonstall Thomas J. O'Connor
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,358,556 1,050,725
Percentage 56.19% 43.46%

Municipal results

Senator before election

Leverett Saltonstall

Elected Senator

Leverett Saltonstall

The United States Senate election of 1960 in Massachusetts was held on November 8, 1960 with Republican Incumbent Leverett Saltonstall defeating his challengers.

Democratic primary





Governor Foster Furcolo, who lost to Saltonstall in 1954, decided to run against him again in 1960.

On June 15, 1960, Springfield Mayor Thomas J. O'Connor announced he would challenge Furcolo for the Democratic nomination.[1] O'Connor received support from Democrats who were opposed to Furcolo's effort to enact a state sales tax. Edmund Dinis, District Attorney for the southern district, was briefly in the race, but dropped at the party convention to support O'Connor.[2] In a show of unity, Furcolo was nominated at the convention by Massachusetts Senate President and political foe John E. Powers. Furcolo defeated O'Connor by a 3 to 1 margin at the Democratic State Convention, but O'Connor decided to remain in the race.[3] In the primary, O'Connor upset Furcolo 48% to 39% with Southern Middlesex County Register of Deeds Edmund C. Buckley received the remaining 13%. O'Connor was able to sweep the western part of the state and top Furcolo by 10,000 in Boston.[4]


1960 Democratic U.S. Senate primary [5]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Thomas J. O'Connor 270,081 48.33%
Democratic Foster Furcolo 217,939 39.01%
Democratic Edmund C. Buckley 70,744 12.66%
Total votes 558,764 100.00%

General election


During the general election, O'Connor contrasted his youth to Saltonstall's age, calling him "yesterday's senator" and "The Late George Apley of Massachusetts politics".[6] O'Connor also attacked the senator for "fail[ing] to act for the working man" and for helping "big business brigands" destroy the state's textile industry.[7]

Saltonstall ran on his long record of public service. He criticized O'Connor for stating that he would consider continue serving as Springfield mayor if elected to the Senate, arguing that Americans need "not part-time leadership but full leadership".[8]

Saltonstall also criticized O'Connor's campaign for lacking substance. After refusing to debate O'Connor, Saltonstall stated "If my opponent would express his opinions of some of the vital national and international issues, I would then consider whether I would debate on these subjects or not".[9]


Saltonstall defeated O'Connor 1,358,556 votes to 1,050,725 to hold on to his Senate seat.[10]

General election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Leverett Saltonstall (incumbent) 1,358,556 56.19% Increase5.65
Democratic Thomas J. O'Connor 1,050,725 43.46% Decrease5.57
Socialist Labor Lawrence Gilfedder 5,735 0.24% Decrease0.04
Prohibition Mark R. Shaw 2,794 0.11% Decrease0.04
Total votes 2,417,810 100.00%


  1. ^ "Furcolo Challenged". The New York Times. June 16, 1960.
  2. ^ Micciche, S.E. (June 18, 1960). "Senator Powers Will Nominate Furcolo Today". The Boston Globe.
  3. ^ Micciche, S.E. (June 19, 1960). "Furcolo, Ward in Sweep". The Boston Globe.
  4. ^ Harris, John (September 14, 1960). "O'Connor Upsets Furcolo". The Boston Globe.
  5. ^ "Our Campaigns - MA US Senate Race - Nov 08, 1960".
  6. ^ Ainley, Leslie (October 26, 1960). "O'Connor Places Accent on Youth". The Boston Globe.
  7. ^ Leary, Robert (October 27, 1960). "Saltonstall, O'Connor Exchange Sharp Blows". The Boston Globe.
  8. ^ Leary, Robert (November 1, 1960). "Salty Warns: No Pad-Time in Senate". The Boston Globe.
  9. ^ "Saltonstall Cites Record On Vital State, U.S. Issues". The Boston Globe. September 22, 1960.
  10. ^ Election Statistics 1960.