Many Massachusetts Democrats, including Gov. Ely and Rep. Birmingham, reacted favorable to Al Smith's announcement in February 1932 that he would be willing to be the Democratic presidential candidate, if the Democratic national convention supported his candidacy, the Boston Herald reported (Feb. 8, 1932, p. 1, 4, via Genealogy Bank).
At the same time, Smith stressed that he would not actively campaign for support, so his name would not appear on the state primary ballots.
Ely said that Smith’s statement “opens the door for the selection of a Massachusetts delegation friendly to his interests….It seems to me that the best interest of the Democratic party nationally and in Massachusetts will be served by the election of those delegates who, though unpledged in a legal sense, have a expressed a preference for the candidacy, the principles and the ideals of Alfred H. Smith.”
Commenting on the Smith announcement, Birmingham said: “I am delighted that Gov. Smith is agreeable to having his name placed before the next Democratic national convention as a candidate for the presidency. It is my opinion that he will be unanimously nominated in Chicago, as he was in Houston in 1928, because this same sentiment still prevails all over the country, and particularly in Massachusetts, for the ‘Happy Warrior.’ With millions of votes added to the 15,000,000 he has proved he can get, I feel that Gov. Smith will be sent to the White House in the next election.”
Mayor James Michael Curley, who supported Franklin Delano Roosevelt, declined to comment on the Smith announcement from his vacation spot in Cuba.