Guess who beat Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. in Massachusetts' 1952 senatorial election? None other than John F. Kennedy. But guess who Henry's grandfather beat for that same Senate seat in 1916? None other than JFK's grandpa, John F. Fitzgerald. And George—Henry's dad—lost to JFK's brother Ted for the same seat in 1962.
It's a small political world.
Especially the world of Massachusetts politics. Come on, Kennedys and Cabots and Lodges? They'd been all over the Bay State's political scene since forever, the Kennedys on the Democratic side and the Cabots and Lodges on the other.
This rivalry spread from Massachusetts to D.C.: In 1960, when Richard Nixon ran for Prez the first time and HCL Jr. was his running mate (running against—surprise—JFK and Lyndon Johnson).
So maybe Henry thought it was only fair that he ran against Kennedy's successor in the 1964 presidential election.
Or maybe his supporters thought it was high time a moderate Republican got into the White House and straightened the whole mess of a country out. He'd previously been an ambassador to the United Nations and South Vietnam but hadn't really thought about running for the White House.
In fact, he hadn't given any support to the amateur volunteers that were trying to get him on the ballot. He didn't campaign at all. And then all of a sudden, he won the New Hampshire primary as a write-in candidate, and boom, his presidential campaign was launched.
He beat out Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller in that primary, the two eventual frontrunners.
But even with that surprising little victory, HCL Jr. still wasn't convinced his candidacy was a great idea. In fact, he never openly declared that he was running for President. Even so, he came in ahead of John Byrnes and Bill Scranton, who had declared their candidacy, ending up with 6% of the primary vote.
But whatevs, it was no sweat off his back. After not becoming President, LBJ re-appointed him as an ambassador. When his old buddy Nixon took office, he made Lodge the head of the American delegation at the Paris Peace Talks in 1969.
This dude's dance card was full even without a POTUSship cutting in.