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1924 Cicero, Illinois municipal elections

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1924 Cicero municipal election
← 1920 April 1, 1924 1928 →

The 1924 Cicero, Illinois municipal elections were elections held in 1924 to select municipal officers in Cicero, Illinois. The elections were notable for the gang-related violence which took place.

Background

The 1924 Cicero municipal elections were of special interest to the Chicago Outfit, as they sought to protect their base of operations both from reformist politicians and from rival gangs.[1][2]

Incumbent Republican mayor Joseph Z. Klenha and his administration were corrupt, and, before 1924, had run Cicero with little political opposition.[1] Klenha had a bipartisan machine that had run Cicero for three consecutive terms.[3] However, in 1924, the Democratic Party decided it would mount a serious challenge to Klenha in Cicero and run its own slate of candidates.[1][3]

In 1923 Chicago elected reformist William Emmett Dever as mayor.[2] This led mobsters Johnny Torrio and Al Capone to move the Chicago Outfit's base outside of Chicago's city limits and into the suburban city of Cicero.[2] The gang solidified their power over the suburb's political structure by ousting Republican political boss Eddie Vogel from power.[1]

The Chicago Outfit controlled the rum-running operation supplying Cicero's saloons.[1] Rival gangs, seeking to usurp the Chicago Outfit's local Cicero monopoly, aligned themselves with the Democrats.[1]

Violence and gang activity on the day of the primary

The Chicago Tribune declared that the elections were, "marked by shootings, stabbings, kidnappings, and other outlawry unsurpassed in any previous Cook County political contest."[4]

The Chicago Outfit obliged to a request from Klenha for assistance in securing his reelection.[1] In return for securing his reelection, they would be granted an effective immunity from the law in Cicero.[3]

Al Capone brought in more than 200 men from his gang and its allies.[3] He also brought in his own brothers Frank Capone and Ralph Capone, and his cousin Charles Fischetti.[3]

On May 31, the eve of the election, the first person struck was Democratic nominee for town clerk William K. Pflaum, whose campaign offices were ransacked.[3] Pflaum had his face beaten and his wife was thrown against a wall.[3]

To protect the Chicago Outfit's political control of Cicero, the Chicago Outfit unleashed a wave of terror on Cicero on the day of the April 1 election. They sent South Side gang members to the polling booths with submachine guns and sawed-off shotguns to make sure that local residents "voted right". Uncooperative voters were assaulted and blocked from voting.[3][1][4][5] Cooperative voters were allowed by them to illegally cast multiple ballots.[3]

Frank Capone led an attack on an opponent's campaign headquarters, ransacking his office and assaulting several campaign workers.[5]

An election official named Joseph Price was beaten, then held gagged and bound.[3]

Rudolph Hurt,[3] the Democratic challenger for mayor, saw his campaign headquarters shot-up.[4]

The Democratic challenger for City Clerk was pistol-whipped in front of his wife, his children, and many supporters.[4]

Cars filled with gunmen roamed the town's streets.[1]

A Cicero police officer was disarmed and terribly battered.[1][3]

Some voters were shot or cut to death.[2][3]

Polling places were raided and ballots were forcibly ripped from the hands of voters by thugs.[1]

Campaigners for both parties were beaten by roaming groups of "sluggers" in the streets.[4] A Democratic worker named Stanley Stenkievitch was kidnapped, blindfolded, and brought to a Chicago basement where he was held as a captive until after the Cicero polls closed.[1][4] Up to twenty men were similarly kidnapped, driven to a basement of a plumbing store in Chicago and chained to pipes and posts.[4] One Democratic campaign worker name Michael Gavin was shot in both legs and detained with eight other Democratic campaign workers in the basement of a mob-owned hotel in Chicago, only to be released when Election Day was over.[3][5]

By the afternoon, election officials had sent out requests for help bringing order to Cicero. A Cook County judge named Edmund K. Jarecki deputized seventy Chicago police officers, five squads from the detective's bureau, and nine squads of motorized police to bring order to Cicero.[4][3]

At one point Frank Capone, Al Capone, Dave Hedlin, and Charles Fischetti were spotted by a squad car carrying uniformed police and detectives who leapt out of their car with their firearms drawn.[1][2][3] Frank Capone began firing at them, and in the ensuing gunfight they shot and killed Frank Capone in the street.[2][1][3] Hedlin was wounded, Fischetti fled and later surrendered, while Al Capone escaped.[1][3]

Mayoral election

1924 Cicero mayoral election

← 1920 April 1, 1924 1928 →
 
Nominee Joseph Z. Klenha Rudolph Hurt
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote
Percentage

Mayor before election

Joseph Z. Klenha
Republican

Elected Mayor

Joseph Z. Klenha
Republican

Incumbent mayor Klenha was the Chicago Outfit's favored candidate.[6] Klenha was challenged by Democrat Rudolph Hurt.[3] Klenha won reelection.

Aftermath

The Chicago Outfit succeeded in securing a favorable result in the municipal elections.[1] Cicero would remain under their control and remained their headquarters until after Al Capone was sent to prison in 1931 for tax evasion.[1]

Klenha's Republican machine remained in power until the 1932 Cicero municipal elections, in which they were eviscerated by what the Chicago Tribune dubbed, "an outpouring of Democratic votes such as had never been approached in the town before."[4]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Sawyers, June (15 November 1987). "IT`S 1924, AND TO `BIG AL,` CICERO IS HIS KIND OF TOWN". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Al Capone". History Channel. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Taylor, Troy (11 February 2009). Murder and Mayhem on Chicago's West Side. Arcadia Publishing.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Benzkofer, Stephan (20 March 2015). "Al Capone's battle for Cicero included ballots and bullets". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  5. ^ a b c The Brothers Capone by Allan May Crime Magazine
  6. ^ "AL CAPONE" TruTV Crime Library
This page was last edited on 4 November 2019, at 08:04
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