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1879 New York state election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1879 New York gubernatorial election

← 1876 November 4, 1879 1882 →
Alonzo B. Cornell.jpg
John Kelly.png
Nominee Alonzo B. Cornell Lucius Robinson John Kelly
Party Republican Democratic Independent Democrat
Popular vote 418,567 375,790 77,566
Percentage 46.68% 41.91% 8.65%

Governor before election

Lucius Robinson

Elected Governor

Alonzo B. Cornell

The 1879 New York state election was held on November 4, 1879, to elect the governor, the lieutenant governor, the secretary state, the state comptroller, the attorney general, the state treasurer and the state engineer, as well as all members of the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate.


Due to the increase of the governor's term to three years by an amendment in 1874, this was the first time the governor and the state cabinet officers were elected at the same time.[1]

The Greenback-Labor state convention met on August 28 and 29 at Utica, New York. William Voorhis was president.[2]

The Republican state convention met on September 3. James W. Wadsworth was nominated for comptroller on the first ballot (vote: Wadsworth 273, John C. Churchill 152). Joseph B. Carr was nominated for secretary of state during the first ballot. Nathan D. Wendell was nominated for treasurer on the first ballot (vote: Wendell 279, Richard A. Elmer 83, Francis B. Brower 54, Francis C. Marvin 19). Hamilton Ward was nominated for attorney general during the first ballot. Howard Soule was nominated for state engineer by acclamation.[3]

The Prohibition state convention met on September 3 at Syracuse, New York. James H. Bronson, of Amsterdam, was chairman. They nominated John W. Mears, of Oneida County, for governor; James H. Bronson for lieutenant governor; Alphonso A. Hopkins for secretary of state; Caleb W. Allis, of Onondaga County, for comptroller; Stephen Merritt for treasurer; Walter Farrington for attorney general; and John J. Hooker for state engineer.[4]

The Democratic state convention met on September 11 at Wieting Hall in Syracuse, New York. Before the first ballot for governor was taken, the Tammany delegates left the convention. Then the incumbent Governor Lucius Robinson was re-nominated on the first ballot (vote: Robinson 243, Henry W. Slocum 56, Clarkson N. Potter 1, Horatio Seymour 1). Clarkson N. Potter was nominated for lieutenant governor by acclamation. Then the incumbents Beach, Olcott, Mackin, Seymour and Schoonmaker were re-nominated by acclamation.[5]

The seceding Tammany delegates re-assembled at Shakespeare Hall. David Dudley Field was president. John Kelly was nominated for governor by acclamation. A Committee of Fifteen was appointed to ponder the question how to proceed and if a whole state ticket should be nominated.[6]


Due to the split of the Democratic vote, Cornell had an easy victory over Robinson. Almost all the other offices were won by the Republicans in a very tight race, only State Engineer Seymour managed to be re-elected on the Democratic ticket. At the time, political commentators voiced their surprise about the strange inconsistency of, on the one side, the total number of votes for Governor compared to the vote for the other state offices on the Republican ticket, and, on the other side, the combined vote of Robinson and Kelly compared to the vote for the other state offices on the joint Democratic/Tammany ticket.

The incumbents Robinson, Beach, Olcott, Schoonmaker and Mackin were defeated. The incumbent Seymour was re-elected.

1879 state election results
Office Republican ticket Democratic ticket Tammany ticket Greenback-Labor ticket Prohibition ticket Socialist Labor ticket Working Men ticket Jeffersonian Democratic ticket
Governor Alonzo B. Cornell 418,567 Lucius Robinson 375,790 John Kelly 77,566 Harris Lewis[7] 20,286 John W. Mears 4,437 Caleb Pink[8] John Kelly John Kelly
Lt. Gov. George G. Hoskins 435,304 Clarkson N. Potter 435,014 Clarkson N. Potter John M. Wieting[9] 23,067 James H. Bronson 3,902 Osborne Ward[10] John M. Wieting Robert W. Hume
Secretary of State Joseph B. Carr 436,013 Allen C. Beach 434,138 Allen C. Beach P. K. McCann 22,558 Alphonso A. Hopkins[11] 4,226
Comptroller James W. Wadsworth 438,253 Frederic P. Olcott 432,325 Frederic P. Olcott John A. Shannon 22,572 Caleb W. Allis 4,192
Attorney General Hamilton Ward, Sr. 437,382 Augustus Schoonmaker, Jr. 433,238 Augustus Schoonmaker, Jr. James Wright[12] 21,961 Walter Farrington[13] 4,073
Treasurer Nathan D. Wendell 436,300 James Mackin 433,485 James Mackin Jurian Winne[14] 21,646 Stephen Merritt[15] 4,149
State Engineer Howard Soule[16] 427,240 Horatio Seymour, Jr. 439,681 Horatio Seymour, Jr. Garret Nagle 22,779 John J. Hooker[17] 4,043

Obs.:For candidates nominated on more than one ticket, the numbers are the total votes on all tickets. "Scattering votes" (includes votes given for Socialist Labor, Working Men, Jeffersonian Democratic, non-running and non-existing candidates) ranging between 3,900 and 5,312 for the various offices.


  1. ^ This happened again in 1885 and 1891, and has become the rule since 1898.
  3. ^ THE EVENING SESSION in NYT on September 4, 1879
  5. ^ THE TAMMANY DELEGATES RETIRE in NYT on September 12, 1879
  6. ^ THE PROCEEDINGS OF KELLY'S CROWD in NYT on September 12, 1879
  7. ^ Harris Lewis, "extensive land-owner" from Herkimer, President of the Farmers' Alliance
  8. ^ Caleb Pink, ran for the State Assembly in the 8th District (Kings County) in 1878
  9. ^ Dr. John M. Wieting, from Syracuse, the owner of the Wieting Opera House (or "Wieting Hall", the locale of many state conventions)
  10. ^ Osborne Ward, ran for Congress in the NY 4th District (Kings County) in 1878
  11. ^ Prof. Alphonso A. Hopkins, of Monroe County, ran also for comptroller in 1875, and Governor in 1882
  12. ^ James Wright, lawyer of Elmira, ran also in 1889 (lived then in Wayne County), and for secretary of state in 1893 (lived then in Weedsport)
  13. ^ Walter Farrington (ca. 1830 - Nov 25., 1920), of Poughkeepsie, lawyer, ran also for the Court of Appeals in 1881, 1884 and 1889; for chief judge in 1892; and for attorney general in 1906
  14. ^ Jurian Winne, ran also in 1883
  15. ^ Rev. Stephen Merritt (b. ca. 1833), Methodist minister, undertaker, ran also for secretary of state in 1881, and for comptroller in 1883, Description in NYT on September 25, 1885
  16. ^ Howard Soule (b. 1829), ran also in 1877, bio at Canal Engineer's Bios Archived 2008-07-24 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ John J. Hooker, of Tioga County, ran also in 1881


See also

This page was last edited on 10 April 2022, at 02:18
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