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1899 Chicago mayoral election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1899 Chicago mayoral election
← 1897 April 4, 1899 1901 →
Carter Harrison Jr (1).jpg
Zina B. Carter (a).jpg
John P. Altgeld 1896.jpg
Nominee Carter Harrison Jr. Zina R. Carter John Peter Altgeld
Party Democratic Republican Municipal ownership
Popular vote 148,498 107,437 47,169
Percentage 48.58% 35.15% 15.43%

Mayor before election

Carter Harrison Jr.

Elected Mayor

Carter Harrison Jr.

In the Chicago mayoral election of 1899 Democrat Carter Harrison Jr. was reelected, winning a plurality of the vote and defeating Republican candidate Zina R. Carter, former Illinois governor John Peter Altgeld, as well as several minor candidates by a double-digit margin.

The election took place on April 4.[1][2][3][4]


Democratic primary

A primary was held in March to elect delegates to the city's Democratic convention. Harrison was unanimously renominated at the convention held March 16.[5][6][7]


Zina R. Carter won the Republican nomination.

The Republican Party was seen to be divided, weakening its chances of winning the general election.[8]

Municipal Ownership

Despite having lost his bid for reelection as governor in 1896, Altgeld was a prominent national political figure.[5] As leader of the Illinois Democratic Party he had selected Harrison in 1897 to be the party-backed candidate for mayor. However, a divide between them arose shortly afterwards.[5] This divide was exacerbated by disagreements about the traction debate and whether or not municipal ownership was the solution to it.[5] In December 1898, after consideration, Altgeld made a widely-anticipated announcement that he would challenge Harrison for the mayoralty. Realizing that he could not win the Democratic nomination, as Harrison had coalesced control of the city party, Altgeld opted to challenge him as a third-party candidate in the general election, backed by the Municipal Ownership League.[5]

General election

Altgeld accused Harrison of turning a blind eye to corruption and abandoning the reformist platforms he had campaigned on in 1897.[5]

Harrison accused Altgeld of being hypocritical on the traction issue, having ignored it while governor.[7]

Harrison eschewed discussing the national hotbutton debate surrounding the gold standard.[8] He highlighted his successes in expanding street lighting in the city and in defeating unpopular traction legislation.[8]

Republican Carter aimed to run a positive and business-centered campaign.[8] He was widely ignored in the press.[8]


John Peter Altgeld (Municipal Ownership)
Carter Harrison Jr. (Democratic)
  • J. N. C. Shumway, state senator[5]
  • John Maynard Harlan[8]


1899 Chicago mayoral election[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Carter Harrison Jr. (incumbent) 148,498 48.58
Republican Zina R. Carter 107,437 35.15
Municipal Ownership John Peter Altgeld 47,169 15.43
Socialist Labor August Klenkie 1,175 0.38
Prohibition John A. Wadhams 1,023 0.34
Social Democratic T. G. Kerwin 367 0.12
Turnout 305,669

Harrison received 68.75% of the Polish-American vote, while Carter received 23.54% and Altgeld received 6.13%.[9]


  1. ^ a b The Chicago Daily News Almanac and Year Book. Chicago: Chicago Daily News. 1911. p. 538.
  2. ^ Mayor Carter Henry Harrison IV Biography
  3. ^ "Aurora Daily Express - Google News Archive Search".
  4. ^ Currey, Josiah Seymour (1912). Chicago: Its History and Its Builders, a Century of Marvelous Growth. S. J. Clarke publishing Company. p. 335.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Tompkins, C. David (1963). "John Peter Altgeld as a Candidate for Mayor of Chicago in 1899". Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. 56 (4): 654–676. JSTOR 40189944.
  6. ^ "Baltimore Sun Newspaper Archives, Mar 25, 1899, p. 4".
  7. ^ a b Morton, Richard Allen (2016-07-12). Roger C. Sullivan and the Making of the Chicago Democratic Machine, 1881-1908. ISBN 9781476623788.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Morton, Richard Allen (2016-07-12). Roger C. Sullivan and the Making of the Chicago Democratic Machine, 1881-1908. ISBN 9781476623788.
  9. ^ Kantowicz, Edward (1972). "The Emergence of the Polish-Democratic Vote in Chicago". Polish American Studies. 29 (1/2): 67–80. JSTOR 20147849.
This page was last edited on 7 February 2020, at 15:28
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