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The Early Career of Mayor Frank Hague

Chapter 1 - Early Days With Boss Davis
Part 4

By Mark S. Foster

Copyright 1967

Web version, edited by GET NJ.
Copyright 2002

Such tactics and organization paid off in the mayoralty election in the spring of 1897. The Jersey Journal, still violently Republican, warned: “Remember, that a vote for the Democratic ticket is a vote for Passaic water an all the evils that flow from it.”9 But Jersey City’s voters ignored the warning. The Democrats swept Edward Hoos into office, winning by over 3,000 votes. Once again, the second ward played an important part, giving Hoos a 1,321 vote margin over the Republican candidate. Also, Democratic candidates for alderman and the Street and Water Board were elected, both groups sweeping the second ward by better than three to one margins. The Jersey Journal wailed: “It is the same old story. The Democratic leaders said they would get out the vote and they did.”10 The paper alertly pointed out that superior Democratic organization had spelled the difference. In an off year election, 6,00 Republicans failed to vote. Had these voters gone to the polls, the election results would have been quite different. On the other hand, the Democrats got roughly ninety percent of their registered voters to the polls. Clearly the day of the political boss had not ended in Hudson County. The paper lamented that Davis’s former opponents within the party were jumping on the Davis bandwagon.

A year later it emphasized the fact that the Democratic “machine” was far from dead when it ran the following headlines side by side before the alderman election in 1898:

Citizens Whom the Republicans Have Named to be elected by the People Next Tuesday…an Able and intelligent Set of Men.
Nominees Whom the Democrats are Working to Elect… They are Regulars and Therefore Meet With the Approval of the Local Boss.

It did not help; the Democrats swept the election. In ward two the Democratic candidate for alderman and nominees for the Street and Water board rolled up six to one majorities. Young Hague was apparently working very hard. A surprising ninety-three percent of registered Democratic voters in all wards voted in a local election, a truly outstanding performance by the organization.


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