race in the 1952 Republican primaries was undoubtedly a major reason for the rekindled voter interest, as it was for the sudden, marked resurgence in presidential primary legislation.
When Minnesota, Indiana, and Montana all approved new presidential primary laws for a second time, it appeared that the old Progressive demand for more direct voter participation in presidential nominations might be catching on again. In the spring of 1953, the Nevada legislature also passed a presidential primary law patterned after the California statute. But it was repealed in 1955 without ever having been put to a test. 17 The repeal of the Minnesota and Montana presidential primary laws in 1959 signaled a halt to the movement for another decade. In 1965, the Maryland state legislature also repealed its presidential preference primary law, which had been in effect since 1912. 18 Few tears were shed by the political leadership of either party in the Free State when it was repealed, for those leaders had long wanted to be able to send uninstructed or favorite son delegations to their national convention.
The presidential primary tide, however, shifted again after the divisive 1968 Democratic National Convention. This recent era, often termed "the postreform period," is covered in the next chapter.
Among the 723 delegates, 17 had been tried for homicide, 46 had served terms in the penitentiary for homicide or other felonies, 84 were identified by detectives as having criminal records. Considerably over a third of the delegates were saloon-keepers; two kept houses of ill-fame; several kept gambling resorts.
Howard R. Penniman, Sait's American Parties and Elections, 5th ed. ( New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1952), p. 283. There were also eleven former pugilists and fifteen former policemen, some with backgrounds similar to those of the other convention delegates described above. Ibid.