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Before 1949: Thirty Years War on Hagueism
Part Two

By J. Owen Grundy
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

Four years later, an all-Republican City Commission ticket, led by lawyer Benjamin Dowden (uncle of later Judge James Dowden) lost the election by a wide margin. But, being defeated inspired young Dowden to form the Hudson County Young Men's Republican Club. The membership included George Logan, former Jail Warden Thomas Connelly, the Zielinski brothers (Ben, Teddy, Charlie,) Helen O'Connor, Milton Rosenzweig, Jack Pritchard, Claire Wright, lawyer Frank P. Clancy, Henry Ewald, Jr. and William A. O'Brien, both attorneys, and many others. They made a brave fight to remove Hague Republican Tom McDonald as Superintendent of Elections, and replace him with militant Hoboken G.O.P. leader Wm. P. Verdon. But their efforts were killed by the influence of former Gov. Edge, who was still friendly to Hague.

It was in this crusade that the youthful J. Owen Grundy made his political debut and continued his independent activity for the next 16 years, before professionally departing for New York to become and active newspaperman, while remaining a resident of Jersey City.

Grundy's "hero" was his family lawyer, former Judge Robert Carey. He was Grundy's guide until Carey's died on October 6, 1963 at the age of 91.

Judge Carey, a popular figure and forceful orator, entered the Republican contest for the nomination for Governor in 1928. He conducted a strenuous campaign, making Hague the issue, all over the state. Hague lay in wait, until Primary day May 15 To defeat Carey, Mayor Hague ordered 20,000 Democrats to switch parties and to invade the Republican Primary - the scheme of the "One Day" Republicans. Morgan F. Larson, of Perth Amboy won and went on to defeat Hague's Democrat nominee, Wm. L. Dill, of Paterson in November, This was the same year that Herbert Hoover carried New Jersey over Hague's choice for President, Gov. Al Smith, of New York. Hamilton Kean was victorious over U.S. Sen. Edwards, who had Hague's backing for reelection.

Gov. Larson named Carey Republican John Drennen as Hudson Prosecutor.

With the Republicans in power in Trenton and Washington, Judge Carey publicly called for an investigation of the "One Day" Republican scandal. The Jersey Journal, owned by Carey's close friends, the Dear brothers (Joseph and Walter,) echoed Carey's demand. The legislature, in joint session, ordered a probe, headed by State Senator Clarence E. Case, with Russel E. Watson as Chief Counsel. The war was on.

The Case Probe made daily headlines in the Jersey Journal, exposing Hague graft, inefficiency, ignorance, and misrule.

In the meantime, the militant Hudson Republicans again marshaled their forces to oust McDonald as Superintendent of Elections. This time, Carey backed them. McDonald was removed and John Ferguson, Hoboken manufacturer and a loyal Republican became the new Elections Superintendent. But Charles F. Stoebling, a Hague Republican, still held on as Commissioner of Registration and Chief Clerk of County Board of Elections. His payroll was composed of an equal number of Hague Democrats and Hague Republicans. For years, thereafter, the Ferguson-Real Republicans battled Stoebling Hague Republicans for control of the Republican Party organization. Eventually, in 1940, the legislature combined the two agencies and named Wm. E. Sewell, a Ferguson aide as the new head of the merged election offices.

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Hudson County Facts by Anthony Olszewski
Hudson County, New Jersey is a place of many firsts - including genocide and slavery.
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