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The Boss

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

After Edge, however, Hague elected three Democratic governors in succession: Edwards, Silzer, and Moore. He was gradually filling courts, boards, and commissions with his men, appointed by his governors, and of course he wished to continue the process. In 1928 he was especially eager to elect a Democratic governor, because Robert Carey of Jersey City, who was then one of his sharpest critics, wanted to be the Republican candidate; Carey, had he been nominated and elected, might have been fatal to the organization. There was another special reason why Hague wanted a Democratic governor to carry New Jersey: he wanted to do all he could for Alfred E. Smith. The man who had risen from the Horseshoe Section was an intense admirer of the man who had risen from the sidewalks of New York.

To accomplish all these purposes he looked about for the weakest among the candidates in the Republican primary, and he hit upon Morgan F. Larson, an undistinguished state senator from Middlesex County. The Democratic boss determined to obtain for Larson the Republican nomination for governor.

On primary day the Democrats of Hudson County turned out to vote in the usual well-drilled battalions, but not all of them voted in the Democratic primary. When the Case Com mittee finished their investigation of that election they reported:

Forty-eight Democratic election officers, functioning as such in the May, 1928, primary election, voted in the Republican primary with the acquiescence, if not the connivance, of the Republican Board members in the districts in which they were serving. Nine voters who had filed applications for appointment as Democratic election officers at the May, 1928 primary, voted in the Republican primary. Twenty-seven Jersey City members of the Hudson County Democratic County Committee voted in the Republican primary. More than one thousand Democrats who signed Democratic nominating petitions for the May, 1928, primary, in which they declared themselves Democrats, voted in the Republican boxes in that primary. These likewise are clear violations of the election law....

The evidence showed that approximately twenty-two thousand Democrats voted in the Republican primary .... (Case Committee Report, Senate Journal, 19;9, p. 1099.)


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