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Presidential campaign reportedly took root in Eloy

Posted by   /  November 22, 2013  /  1 Comment

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 Eloy farmer Augustus Battaglia, from left, poses with Arizona Gov. Ernest McFarland, U.S. Sen. John
F. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Arizona Democratic Chairman Joseph Walton in February 1958 at a party in Tucson. The photo provided to the Dispatch after Kennedy’s death in 1963 was signed “To Gus Battaglia, with very warmest regards, John Kennedy.” / Dispatch (1963)


Eloy farmer Augustus Battaglia, from left, poses with Arizona Gov. Ernest McFarland, U.S. Sen. John
F. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Arizona Democratic Chairman Joseph Walton in February 1958 at a party in Tucson. The photo provided to the Dispatch after Kennedy’s death in 1963 was signed “To Gus Battaglia, with very warmest regards, John Kennedy.” / Dispatch (1963)

By Brian Kramer | Casa Grande Dispatch

In late 1955, the patriarchs of two powerful American families met on the ranch of Augustus J. “Gus” Battaglia near Eloy.

The topic of Joseph Kennedy Sr. and Joseph Bonanno’s conversation reportedly was a presidential campaign for Joe’s son, John F. Kennedy. The younger Kennedy, then 38, was serving Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate.

“It might seem odd, even a little preposterous, for a man with Joe Kennedy’s savvy and background to have persistently courted a known Mafia leader like Joseph Bonanno,” Bonanno’s son, Salvatore “Bill” Bonanno, later wrote in his book “Bound by Honor: A Mafioso’s Story.”

They discussed their plan to get Kennedy on the Democratic ticket in 1960, assuming incumbent President Dwight D. Eisenhower would likely be re-elected in 1956, according to Bonanno’s book. As with a number of things cited in the book, there is no way to corroborate the information. Three years later, in 1958,

John Kennedy attended one of Battaglia’s annual barbecues on his ranch. In January 1960, he formally announced a campaign that would make him the youngest man ever elected president of the United States and one that would forever change the way candidates campaigned because of the importance of television.

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  • Published: 4 years ago on November 22, 2013
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  • Last Modified: November 22, 2013 @ 9:34 am
  • Filed Under: Government and Politics

1 Comment

  1. Annette Battaglia Stenstrom says:

    My grandfather Augustus James Battaglia would have been very upset by the election of #45. He would have hated that he won. #45 is the opposite of everything my grandfather loved and adored about this country.

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