The primary ballot that year was a foot and a half in length, with 125 delegates listed. Voters who had been urged to make an independent choice (”Don’t be satisfied with the available. Select the best”) turned out in droves for Lodge. The ambassador received 36 percent of the vote, topping Goldwater (22 percent) and Rockefeller (21 percent).
Goldwater went on to win the nomination, Rockefeller to serve as vice president. And Lodge? He served as head of the American delegation at the Vietnam peace talks and died 29 years ago, his adventure in national politics long unremembered.
North Shore native and Pulitzer Prize winner David M. Shribman is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.