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1912 Colorado gubernatorial election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1912 Colorado gubernatorial election

← 1910 November 8, 1912 (1912-11-08) 1914 →
Elias Ammons.gif
Senator Edward Prentiss Costigan.jpg
Nominee Elias M. Ammons Edward P. Costigan
Party Democratic Progressive
Popular vote 114,044 66,132
Percentage 42.91% 24.88%

Clifford C. Clark.png
Nominee Clifford C. Parks Charles A. Ashelstrom
Party Republican Socialist
Popular vote 63,061 16,189
Percentage 23.73% 6.09%

1912 Colorado gubernatorial election results map by county.svg
County results
Ammons:      <40%      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%
Parks:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%

Governor before election

John F. Shafroth

Elected Governor

Elias M. Ammons

The 1912 Colorado gubernatorial election took place on November 8, 1912. Democratic state Senator Elias M. Ammons defeated the Progressive, Republican and Socialist candidates future Senator Edward P. Costigan, Clifford C. Parks and Charles A. Ashelstrom with 42.91% of the vote.


In 1910, incumbent Democratic Governor John F. Shafroth had won reelection by a 51-43 margin against Republican State Senator John B. Stephen. Shafroth two terms in office were defined by his push for progressive reforms. He successfully passed direct primary, recall, home rule and labor control laws against strong opposition of the Democratic machine in Denver and Colorado corporations.[1] In 1912, Shafroth decided against running for another term. Instead, he successfully ran for United States Senator that year.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Republican party was divided into two main wings: the progressives (led by Theodore Roosevelt) and the conservatives (led by William Howard Taft). The rift between the two wings had deepened during the Taft's service as 27th President of the United States, prompting former President Roosevelt to run against the incumbent Taft for the Republican nomination in the 1912 United States Presidential Election. Taft won the nomination at the 1912 Republican National Convention in Chicago, causing Roosevelt to found the Progressive Party and run as a third-party candidate. In many other national and state elections in the year 1912, candidates ran against the Democratic and Republican nominees under Roosevelt's "Progressive" or "Bull Mouse" Banner.

In Colorado, Edward P. Costigan quickly emerged as the leader of the new Progressive Party and was chosen by the party to contest the gubernatorial race.[2]

Democratic primary

State Senator Elias M. Ammons was able to win the Democratic primary on September 10, 1912 against former Attorney General Joseph H. Maupin and Colorado State Penitentiary Warden Thomas J. Tynan. Ammons had positioned himself as a moderate reformer, who strongly opposed Roosevelt's conservation policies.[2]



Eliminated in the primary

  • Joseph H. Maupin, former Attorney General (1890-1892)
  • Thomas J. Tynan, Colorado State Penitentiary Warden


Democratic primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Elias M. Ammons 29,349 45.10
Democratic Thomas J. Tynan 21,037 32.33
Democratic Joseph H. Maupin 14,686 22.57
Total votes 65,072 100.0

Republican primary

Former State Auditor Clifford C. Parks was able to win the Republican primary on September 10, 1912 against attorney Philip B. Stewart. The Republican primary was shaped by the divide between "regular" Republicans which supported President Taft and "progressive" Republicans which supported former President Roosevelt. In July 1912, the progressive candidate Stewart had been asked by fellow Roosevelt supporters to leave the Republican Party and join the Progressive Party. He declined and instead ran as a Roosevelt supporter in the Republican primary.[4] Stewart lead the race in early returns which lead multiple newspaper to call him the apparent winner.[5] After all votes were counted, Clifford C. Parks was declared as the winner. Philip Stewart did not support the Republican ticket in the general election,[6] and ran as a Presidential elector for Teddy Roosevelt in the 1912 presidential election.[7]



  • Clifford C. Parks, former Auditor of the State (1894-1896)[3]

Eliminated in the primary

  • Philip B. Stewart, Attorney [8]


Republican primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Clifford C. Parks 21,247 53.22
Republican Philip B. Stewart 18,676 46.78
Total votes 39,923 100.0

General Election


Colorado gubernatorial election, 1912[9]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Elias M. Ammons 109,825 42.91%
Progressive Edward P. Costigan 66,132 24.88%
Republican Clifford C. Parks 63,061 23.73%
Socialist Charles A. Ashelstrom 16,189 6.09%
Prohibition John Henry Ketchum 5,900 2.22%
Socialist Labour Jonathan U. Billings 460 0.17%
Total votes 261,567 100%


Elias M. Ammons was sworn in as the 19th Governor of Colorado in Denver on January 14, 1913. In the 1912 Colorado House of Representatives and Colorado Senate elections the Democrats won a 48-17 and 24-11 majority in the 19th General Assembly, respectively. The Colorado State Government was therefore dominated by Democrats during Ammons' term from 1913-1915.

Ammons and the Democrats' legislative proposals would be overshadowed by the Colorado Coalfield War, which climaxed in the 1914 Ludlow Massacre. Ammons was the commander-in-chief of the Colorado National Guard, that caused the massacre by attacking the tent city called Ludlow Colony. The strike caused between 69 and 199 deaths.[10][11] After the massacre, Governor Ammons was torn between the interests of the striking miners, which had political support by some Democrats like State Senator Helen Ring Robinson,[12] and the mine owners under the leadership of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and decided to request the deployment of federal troops to calm the violent clashes.[13] After massive criticism and nationwide outrage, Ammons decided to not run for reelection in the 1914 Colorado gubernatorial election and subsequently retired from public life.


  1. ^ Lamm, Richard D. (2008). Pioneers & Politicians: Colorado Governors in Profile. Fulcrum Publishing.
  2. ^ a b Laugen, R. Todd (2011). The Gospel of Progressivism. University Press of Colorado.
  3. ^ a b c d Pearce, James B. (1913). State of Colorado. Abstract of Votes Cast at the Primary Election held on the Tenth Day of September, A.D. 1912 and the General Election held on Fifth Day of November, A.D. 1912 (PDF). Secretary of State of Colorado.
  4. ^ "Philip Stewart and Followers Refuse to Join Third Party". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 4 July 1912. Retrieved 29 November 2019 – via
  5. ^ "Philip B. Stewart gets nominated for governor". The Times (Streator). 11 September 1912. Retrieved 29 November 2019 – via
  6. ^ "No promise yet from Progressives". The Fort Collins Express. 12 September 1912. Retrieved 29 November 2019 – via
  7. ^ "Stewart to Run as T.R. Elector". The Fort Collins Express. 26 September 1912. Retrieved 29 November 2019 – via
  8. ^ Presidents and Speakers of the Colorado General Assembly (PDF). Colorado General Assembly. 2016.
  9. ^ "Colorado gubernatorial election, 1912".
  10. ^ "Colorado Coal Field War Project".
  11. ^ "The Colorado Coalfield War".
  12. ^ Pat Pascoe (November 1, 2011). Helen Ring Robinson. University Press of Colorado. p. multiple PTs. ISBN 978-1-4571-1167-9.
  13. ^ Andrews, Thomas G. (September 2010). Killing for Coal: America's Deadliest Labor War. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-04691-7.
This page was last edited on 24 December 2021, at 06:00
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