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The Boss

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

All great men make occasional mistakes, and even Mayor Hague's staunchest adherents admit that he made one here, not so much an error of strategy as of tactics, for, as one of them said, `He either failed or neglected to tie up Larson.' No sooner had Larson been safely nominated than he began to attack Hague and Hagueism as a menace to the state. The legislature, which was Republican, appointed the Case Committee to investigate the election, and later amended the act creating the Hudson and Essex County election bureaus to permit the legislature to remove without cause or hearing a superintendent of elections. The legislators then removed Thomas A. McDonald of Hudson because, although he was a Republican, he was `too friendly to the political ambitions of Mayor Hague,' as one legislative leader said.

The Mayor denounced the investigation as an anti-Smith plot. It was started, he asserted, for the benefit of `Bob Carey, a common scold and nothing but a bum sport,' and the members of the committee `have deliberately planned to carry on this investigation in the fall so [that] they will harass and hamper the Democratic Party.' (New York Times, July 17 and 19, 1928.) Smith probably would not have carried New Jersey anyway, though the investiga- tion may have contributed to the size of the Hoover majority. The Democratic candidate for governor, William L. Dill, one of the most honest men ever in New Jersey politics, went down in the landslide. Governor Larson refused to deal with Hague on appointments or to stop the Case Committee, in spite of all that the Mayor had done for him. `We never got less out of any Republican governor,' said one of Hague's men. Saddened by this ingratitude, Hague learned his lesson on how to deal with Republican governors.


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