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1914 United States Senate election in New York

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1914 United States Senate election in New York
Flag of New York (1909–2020).svg

← 1909 November 3, 1914 1920 →
Nominee James W. Wadsworth James Watson Gerard
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 639,112 571,419
Percentage 47.04% 42.06%

Senator before election

Elihu Root

Elected Senator

James W. Wadsworth

The 1914 United States Senate election in New York was held on November 3. Incumbent Republican Senator Elihu Root chose not to seek re-election. James Wolcott Wadsworth Jr. was elected to a succeed Root, defeating Democrat James Watson Gerard.

Primary elections were held on September 28. These were the first direct primaries (in which party members chose each candidate individually rather than as part of a slate) in the history of New York state.[1] James Wolcott Wadsworth Jr. narrowly defeated William M. Calder for the Republican nomination. James Watson Gerard won the Democratic nomination in a landslide over Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a rare setback in the political career of the future President of the United States.

This election for Senate was the first decided by popular vote in New York, as required following the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment.

Republican primary





The Republican primary was a skirmish in the feud between the conservative party establishment led by William Barnes Jr. and the progressive followers of Theodore Roosevelt, brought to new heights by Roosevelt's July editorial denouncing Barnes as corrupt.

Calder announced his campaign on June 16 with the full backing of the Kings County Republican Committee and the understanding that Senator Root would not accept re-nomination.[2] Another progressive, Harvey D. Hinman, entered the race with the apparent support of Theodore Roosevelt and more established progressives, who urged Calder to clear the field for him.[3] After Root's refusal was publicly substantiated, James W. Wadsworth became a likely candidate for the conservative party establishment, given that he had become Speaker of the Assembly with then-President Roosevelt's support years prior.[3]

Following Wadsworth's entry into the race, Hinman withdrew and Calder successfully convinced him to run for Governor.[4]

Roosevelt's feud with Barnes played a major role in the race. Progressive candidates attacked Wadsworth and gubernatorial candidate Charles S. Whitman for their association with Barnes.[1] By election day, the Barnes faction was expected to succeed through its strength outside of New York City.[1][5][6]


1914 Republican Senate Primary[7]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican James Wolcott Wadsworth Jr. 89,960 42.85%
Republican William M. Calder 82,895 39.48%
Republican David Jayne Hill 37,102 17.67%
Total votes 209,957 100.00%


Following Wadsworth's victory, some progressive Republicans bolted the party for the Progressive organization.

Calder would be elected to the Senate himself in 1916, serving alongside Wadsworth for one term.

Democratic primary




A young Franklin Roosevelt was the early favorite for the Democratic nomination until the eleventh-hour entry of James Watson Gerard as the candidate of Tammany Hall.
A young Franklin Roosevelt was the early favorite for the Democratic nomination until the eleventh-hour entry of James Watson Gerard as the candidate of Tammany Hall.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt was an early candidate for the Senate, privately expressing his interest in both the Democratic and Progressive nominations following Root's retirement.[9] Roosevelt had previously hoped to run for Governor against Tammany Hall incumbent Martin H. Glynn but demurred after he failed to win the support of President Woodrow Wilson.[10] His entry into the campaign was delayed in June by the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and early movements towards World War I.[9]

Roosevelt finally announced his candidacy on August 13 at the urging of Treasury Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo.[8] Roosevelt, who had been the leader of the reform faction in the State Senate years prior, spent all of August confident that he would be the Democratic nominee and did not bother to appear at his campaign's kickoff rally on September 2.[8]

In late August, Roosevelt won the endorsement of Governor Glynn, a coup in his efforts to reconcile the reformers with Tammany.[8] However, Tammany surprised Roosevelt and the national party by putting forward U.S. Ambassador to Germany James Watson Gerard as a candidate on September 6, the penultimate day to file for the ballot.[8]

Roosevelt was caught unprepared by Gerard's candidacy, which had the White House's blessing. Gerard was also independently wealthy and had a reputation for honesty that gave him distance from Tammany corruption. Most importantly, Gerard was able to avoid a personal undertaking by attending to his duties in Berlin, leaving Roosevelt no room to criticize him.[11]

Roosevelt attempted a last-minute campaign tour but made little impression on voters. One upstate paper reported, "When compared to such a man as Elihu Root he cuts a sorry figure as a great statesman."[11]


1914 Democratic Senate Primary[12]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic James Watson Gerard 133,815 62.08%
Democratic Franklin Delano Roosevelt 63,879 29.64%
Democratic James S. McDonough 17,862 8.29%
Total votes 154,221 100.00%

Progressive primary



1914 Progressive Senate Primary[13]
Party Candidate Votes %
Progressive Bainbridge Colby 27,517 100.00%
Total votes 27,517 100.00%

General election



1914 United States Senate election in New York[14]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican James Wolcott Wadsworth Jr. 639,112 47.04%
Democratic James Watson Gerard 571,419 42.06%
Progressive Bainbridge Colby 61,977 4.56%
Socialist Charles Edward Russell 55,266 4.07%
Prohibition Francis E. Baldwin 27,813 2.05%
Socialist Labor Erwin A. Aucher 3,064 0.23%
Total votes 1,358,651 100.00%


  1. ^ a b c "VOTE TOMORROW UNDER NEW LAW". The New York Times. 27 Sep 1914. p. 12. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  2. ^ "CALDER WILL MAKE RACE: Brooklyn Congressman Announces Candidacy for U.S. Senator". The New York Times. 17 June 1914. p. 5. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b "WADSWORTH LEADS IN U.S. SENATE RACE". The New York Times. 2 July 1914. p. 3. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  4. ^ "CALDER SEES HINMAN: Coalition Against Barnes and Wadsworth is Reported". The New York Times. Binghamton, N.Y. 9 July 1914. p. 3§. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  5. ^ "WHITMAN SENTIMENT STRONG: Western Counties Show Republicans Also Favor Wadsworth". 27 Sep 1914. p. 12. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  6. ^ "PROGRESSIVE CIRCLES QUIET: Republicans Uniting on Wadsworth and whitman in Schenectady and Saratoga Counties". 27 Sep 1914. p. 12. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  7. ^ "NY US Senate - R Primary". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d e Smith 2007, p. 123.
  9. ^ a b Smith 2007, p. 119.
  10. ^ Smith 2007, p. 118.
  11. ^ a b Smith 2007, p. 124.
  12. ^ "NY US Senate - D Primary". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  13. ^ "NY US Senate - PRO Primary". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  14. ^ "NY US Senate". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 11 March 2020.


  • Smith, Jean Edward (2007). FDR. Random House.
This page was last edited on 17 May 2022, at 13:31
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