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The Boss

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

For the election of 1925, Hague turned to his old friend, Commissioner A. Harry Moore, who began that year a notable career in state politics. The Mayor told the people of Jersey City to show the rest of the state `what a fine vote-getter he is.' Even before his first campaign for governor, More had a reputation. The New York Times knew about him:

The successful [Republican] candidate will have to cam- paign against Commissioner A. Harry Moore, whom Mayor Hague, the astutest of bosses, has been grooming for months. There is no Democratic opposition to Mr. Moore. He can talk circles around any other politician in New Jersey. He has joined every social organization that is helpful to a candidate. He is well grounded in the art of public improvements. There is nothing of interest to the average citizen that he can't `orate' about with the facility of a river flowing over a dam. He has a speaking acquaintance with everybody whom he ever met in New Jersey and expects to take every voter by the hand before election day. Mr. Moore will have a drip- ping wet platform. No wonder the Republicans are worried. (Editorial, May 25, 1925.)
His favorite topics for campaign speeches were that business men should take a more active interest in politics; that crime waves threatened because prisoners were coddled; that there should be more parks and playgrounds. He was especially fond of telling about his interest in crippled children. His opponent, State Senator Arthur Whitney, charged that the issue of the campaign was `Hagueism as opposed to Coolidgeism,' and he did his best to attack the Hudson County organization, making some charges that the Case Committee later substantiated. He could not, however, overcome the handicap of his support by the Anti-Saloon League. Moore won by 38,000; but his Hudson County majority was 103,000. The organization was becoming more efficient every year.

It was becoming so efficient, indeed, that Thomas McDonald, a Republican, superintendent of the Hudson County Bureau of Elections, placed in the hands of the county prosecutor, John Milton, various affidavits and allegations of fraud in the election in the hope that Mr. Milton would present them to the grand jury. After several months had passed and nothing had happened, Superintendent McDonald issued a statement in which he charged that votes had been cast by persons who gave addresses that turned out to be vacant lots; that a vote had been cast in the name of a man who was dead. He asserted that in one polling place where not a single vote was reported for Senator Whitney, a mutilated official ballot marked for the Republican candidate was found. He cited instances where the official number of votes cast, according to the returns, exceeded the number of registered voters. In a district where there were 662 names on the poll books, for example, 683 votes had been cast. (New New York Times, April 14, 1996.) The prosecuter said that he thought that the charges were exaggerated, and besides the grand jury was busy with other matters.


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