Boston Mayor Michael J. Curley, a Franklin Delano Roosevelt supporter, was able to outflank Rep. Birmingham and Chelsea Mayor Lawrence F. Quigley, both supporting Al Smith, at the 1932 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the Boston Herald reported (July 3, 1932, p. 4, via Genealogy Bank).
Because of his active support of FDR, Curley was not part of the Massachusetts delegation to the convention, which was pledged to support Smith. However, FDR supporters were able to maneuver so that Curley was at the convention as a delegate from Puerto Rico.
Both Birmingham and Quigley had challenged Curley’s right to speak at the convention. However, they were caught off guard when Curley took the stage at the convention and joined in the seconding of John Garner as the running mate to FDR.
Sensing the support for Garner at the convention, the Massachusetts delegation withdrew their opposition and sat silently as Garner’s nomination for vice president was approved by voice vote.
Rep. John W. McCormack of South Boston declared that he would second Garner’s nomination on behalf of Massachusetts, but opposition from his fellow delegates changed his mind.
In response to Garner’s nomination, the Massachusetts delegation deserted their section of the convention hall. A large group of delegates decided to leave Chicago early and arranged for a special train to take them back to Boston, the newspaper reported.
Gov. Ely, a Smith supporter, delayed the special train’s departure in order to keep the delegation at the convention for the final session, although some delegates left early anyway.