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The Boss

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

When Edwards' administration came to an end in 1922, he was nominated for United States senator, and George S. Silzer, a circuit judge from New Brunswick, received the backing of the organization for governor. Silzer was as much opposed to prohibition as Edwards, but, of course, he opposed the return of `the old-time saloon.' Both Edwards and Silzer were endorsed by the State Federation of Labor, and they won neatly. Silzer carried the state by 45,894 over Runyon, the Republican candidate. Hudson County gave him a majority of 79,905.

As governor he got along only moderately well with Mayor Hague. He offended both Hague and Edwards by his removal of the highway board Edwards had appointed, which had on it five Democrats and three Republicans. `For years,' he said, `there had been graft in the paving of New Jersey highways and everybody knew it.... I do not cast any reflections upon the members [of the board]. It is sufficient to say that the action is in the public interest.' (New York Times, February 3, 1924.) A boomlet developed for Silzer for President in 1924. It was often reported during his years as governor that he and Hague were at odds, but at length, the Mayor endorsed him for the nom- ination, and headquarters were opened in New York. When the convention of 1924 opened, Silzer's name was placed in nomination, and he received for a few ballots the twenty- eight votes of the New Jersey delegation; but they soon switched over to Smith. At the end of his term he retired to private life: Mayor Hague had no enthusiasm for him.


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