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The Early Career of Mayor Frank Hague

Chapter 1 - Early Days With Boss Davis
Part 5

By Mark S. Foster

Copyright 1967

Web version, edited by GET NJ.
Copyright 2002

In the mayoralty election of 1899, the Democratic organization gave Hoos and even greater margin of 7,000 out of 25,000 votes cast, almost a two to one margin. Once again, Hague’s work in the second ward yielded excellent returns. Hoos received 2,029 votes while his opponent collected only 348. Perhaps the young veteran worked all the harder because he himself was up for re-election as constable. He need not have worried, as he buried his opponent, 2,016 to 349.13

Hague’s work had drawn the attention of his superiors in the party. In 1898, Sheriff William Heller, whom Hague had so ably helped to elect, appointed him a deputy.14 The job provided a salary of twenty-five dollars a week. Even more important, though, it gave Hague a chance to frequent City Hall and rub elbows with the important men in the party, including the mayor. In addition, as constable, and deputy sheriff, he was in a position to influence more directly the disposition of the legal affairs of both friend and foe. It is significant that each promotion Hague received in his rise to power allowed him more time to spend in City Hall. Hague’s sensitive Irish nose smelled the power in City Hall, and he liked the fragrance.

The incumbent Republican President, William McKinley, once again crushed Bryan in the general election of 1900. In New Jersey, the Republicans won every county except Hudson, which the Democrats once again swept convincingly. Hague felt he was backing a winner in working for Robert Davis. He was heir apparent to the job of state chairman for the party. Most importantly, Hague was also a rising power in the party organization. In the annual Davis outing, he was appointed a Colonel’s Aid. The previous year he had marched as a mere private.

During this time, Frank Hague remained hard at work in the second ward Democratic Club which was renamed the Robert Davis Club. More and more he assumed leadership duties in the organization. As a reward, club members elected him to its executive committee and appointed him Democratic county committeeman from the tenth District of the second ward.15 He was named to the committee just in time to participate in selecting a mayoralty candidate for the 1901 election.

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