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Boss Hague
King Hanky-Panky of Jersey

Part 7

By Jack Alexander

Originally appeared in The Saturday Evening Post on October 26, 1940
Edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2002

Paper vs. Machine

In Trenton, Governor Moore found the bills not only “clearly unconstitutional” but “blatantly outrageous.” So he vetoed them. The legislature, at an all-night session, repassed the bills over the veto, while Moore was threatening to have his attorney general challenge the constitutionality of the legislation in the higher courts. It appeared that endless legalistic shadow-boxing would postpone the voting-machine business until after the election - so that paper ballots could work their wonders in Hudson County.

A second Republican thrust by the legislature really put Hague on the spot. The registration commissioner of Hudson, a Republican who was known as a “Hague Republican,” was retired on a pension and William B. Sewell, one of Hague’s most implacable enemies, was installed in his place. Sewell assembled a staff of inspectors and went to work checking the rolls and preparing a “black list” of names for November 5th. Hague immediately made charges of a vile plot to disenfranchise legal Hudson voters, and he was still shouting “foul” when this article was being written. Unless he finds a way in which to checkmate Sewell before election time, Hague is in line for one of the worst setbacks of his career. With the “cemetery” vote chipped away, the Hudson Gibraltar will be something less than impregnable.

Unexpected aid has come to the Republicans through James A. Tumulty, an independent Democratic candidate for United States senator. Tumulty is a young lawyer with a long, smoldering memory. His father, who was chief clerk of Jersey City’s Bureau of Tax Assessments for many years, died a year ago, heartbroken over the failure of efforts he had made to tone down the wild financial policies of Hague. The elder Tumulty occupied a key post and had he chosen to graft he could have been well-to-do. He died a poor man. Young Tumulty and his brother, John, who is his law partner, have long nurtured a family grudge against Hague. They gave vent to it some months back by filing a lengthy fraud complaint with the Campaign Expenditures Committee of the United States Senate, and the committee dispatched investigators into Hudson County to investigate.

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