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1907 Chicago mayoral election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1907 Chicago mayoral election
← 1905 April 2, 1907 1911 →
 
Busse2 (1).jpg
Portrait of Edward Fitzsimmons Dunne (1).jpg
Nominee Fred A. Busse Edward F. Dunne
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 329,404 303,558
Percentage 49.03% 45.18%

Mayor before election

Edward F. Dunne
Democratic

Elected Mayor

Fred A. Busse
Republican

In the Chicago mayoral election of 1907 Republican Fred A. Busse defeated Democratic incumbent Edward F. Dunne.

This was the first mayoral election to a four-year term in Chicago's history, as terms had been extended from two to four years.[1]

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

Nominations

Democratic primary

Dunne was able to defeat a challenge from Carter Harrison Jr. for the nomination.[4]

Harrison had secured support from a number of ward bosses (including Robert Burke, Powers, and Sullivan) as well as the Sullivan-Hopkins wing of the party.[4]

On February 21, Dunne won the primary held at the Democratic convention.[4] He won 624 votes to Harrison's 259.[4]

Republican primary

The Republican nomination was won by Fred A. Busse.

The few speeches Busse delivered when seeking the mayoralty had focused primarily on the desire to adopt a business-style approach to government and to develop a "greater Chicago".[4]

Busse was the sort of candidate which many Republicans had been hoping to nominate for mayor. He was a loyal party member who was scandal-free.[4]

There was some hope that Busse, being of the son of German immigrants, might also be a candidate that could appeal to some of Chicago's traditionally-Democratic ethnic voters.[4]

During his time in government, Busse had proven himself to be a competent individual that had made himself accessible to constituents.[4]

Busse had made few rivals during his time in government. He was considered to be a relatively unobjectionable personality.[4]

While Busse was the North Side Republican political boss, he had refrained from involving himself in the corrupt activities which often accompanied machine politics.[4]

Seeing themselves as having strong odds of taking back the mayoralty for the first time in more than a decade, the Republicans believed Busse was an individual that the party could unite around.[4]

Prohibition nomination

William A. Brubaker won the Prohibition nomination.

Socialist nomination

George Koop won the Socialist nomination.

General election

Campaign

The Chicago Traction Wars was an ongoing controversy in Chicago. As a result, a key issue in the election was transit.[4][5] Busse supported the 1907 ordinance, while Dunne was against it and was instead in favor of immediate municipal ownership.[4][5]

Busse supported the proposed new municipal charter that was awaiting ratification in the state legislature, while Dunne strongly opposed it.[4] To appease the concern of the city's ethnic community, which were opposed to the ordinance's impact of imposing Sunday dry laws on Chicago, Busse promised the United Societies that, in exchange for their support, he would lobby the state legislature to also pass legislation give Chicago amnesty from state liquor laws.[4]

Early into the campaign Busse received a minor injury in a train crash while traveling back to Chicago from Washington, D.C.[4] Republican newspapers fostered the public's sympathy for Dunne, contrasting the healthy Dunne with a maimed Busse.[4]

Busse held delivered no speeches and attended no rallies during the general election campaign.[4] A man who disliked public speaking, Busse used his injuries as an excuse to avoid it during the election.[4] Instead, surrogates such as Illinois Attorney General William H. Stead campaigned on Busse's behalf.[4]

Republicans tried to paint Dunne as being a creature of the political machine.[4] Dunne in fact was, by the standards of the era, not strongly connected with machine politics.[4] While accusing Dunne of this, Republican ignored their own candidate's involvement in machine politics.[4] Republicans accused Dunne of corrupt vote-buying, while at the same time defending Busse against similar accusations by declaring him to be someone who "just simply helps the sick and poor and lightens the load of poverty" by handing out jobs, cash, and coal (from his coal company) to constituents on the North Side.[4]

A hot button issue which Busse's camp did not seize upon was the School Board, the composition of which had undergone a radical change in the previous two years due to appointments Dunne had made to the dismay of the city's Republican business community.[4]

Dunne entered the general election as a vulnerable incumbent.[4] Dunne had upset many voters by taking stances which many, variably, regarded to either be too extreme or too moderate.[4] The Democratic Party had not solidified its support behind his candidacy, weakening Dunne's chances of a general election victory.[4] Dunne had also made enemies of a number of Democratic ward bosses, losing key allies that otherwise might have helped deliver him votes.[4]

Dunne was regarded by some to be a socialist.[4] Under his mayoralty, some critics considered Chicago to be the "most radical city in America"[4] Critics characterized his administration as having been composed of "long-haired friends" of Dunne and "short-haired women."[4]

Dunne's positions were relatively mainstream among municipal reformers ("social reformers" and "urban liberals") .[4] Like other municipal reformers, Dunne favored having political power be shared with the lower echelons of society rather than being exclusively held by the upper echelons.[4] He also was supportive of labor unions.[4] He was tolerant towards ethnic and cultural diversity and also tolerant towards those with disabilities and impairments.[4] He was a contemporary with progressive leaders in other American cities, including Tom L. Johnson, Samuel M. Jones, Hazen Pingree, and Brand Whitlock.[4] He was also a contemporary of progressive Republicans such as Jersey City mayor Mark Pagan.[4][6]

Dunne's campaign strategy was to stress party loyalty in traditionally Democratic wards and to promote his stance on municipal ownership in the wards where it had appeared to assist his 1905 campaign.[4]

Dunne campaigned tirelessly, delivering frequent speeches.[4]

The only newspapers to support Dunne's candidacy were those owned by William Randolph Hearst.[4] This created another problem, with Dunne needing to defend the fact that he was supported by the polarizing Hearst.[4]

Materials opposing Dunne and supporting the 1907 ordinances were distributed by two political action committees.[4] These were the Chicago Non-Partisan Traction Settlement Association (funded by the Real Estate Board and the Commercial Association, who were also sponsoring the Plan of Chicago) and the Straphanger League.[4] Traction and liquor interests (both of which opposed Dunne) also spent heavily in the municipal elections, expending as much as $600,000.[4]

The public debate about traction became very heated during the campaign.[4]

Results

1907 Chicago mayoral election[7][2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Fred A. Busse 329,404 49.03
Democratic Edward F. Dunne (incumbent) 303,558 45.18
Socialist George Koop 26,858 4.00
Prohibition William A. Brubaker 12,040 1.79
Turnout 671,860

The results by ward showed a 90% correlation between the mayoral election and the 1907 Ordinance referendum results.[4]

Busse received 31.89% of the Polish-American vote while Dunne received 65.44% and Koop received 2.29%.[8]

The election result was closer than many Republicans had been anticipating. Many Republicans believed Busse would win by a margin of between 30,000 and 40,000 votes, considerably greater than the mere 13,000 vote margin he actually won by.[4]

References

  1. ^ Weber, Lara (September 7, 2018). "Commentary: Chicago's mayors: As Rahm Emanuel completes his mark, a look back at his 44 predecessors". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b The Chicago Daily News Almanac and Year Book. Chicago: Chicago Daily News. 1911. p. 538.
  3. ^ Currey, Josiah Seymour (1912). Chicago: Its History and Its Builders, a Century of Marvelous Growth. S. J. Clarke publishing Company. p. 335.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av The Mayors: The Chicago Political Tradition, fourth edition by Paul M. Green, Melvin G. Holli SIU Press, Jan 10, 2013
  5. ^ a b "The Daily Star - Google News Archive Search".
  6. ^ Cape May County, New Jersey: The Making of an American Resort Community by Jeffery M. Dorwart (page 168)
  7. ^ "RaceID=123303". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  8. ^ Kantowicz, Edward. “The Emergence of the Polish-Democratic Vote in Chicago.” Polish American Studies, vol. 29, no. 1/2, 1972, pp. 67–80. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/20147849.
This page was last edited on 7 February 2020, at 15:16
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