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New York state election, 1943

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 1943 New York state election was held on November 2, 1943, to elect the Lieutenant Governor and a judge of the New York Court of Appeals.

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How would you like to fund politicians with whom you strongly disagree? Not interested? How about if I… forced you? How would I do that? Well, what if I said: if you don’t pay, you lose your job. For decades millions of state and local government workers – police, firefighters, teachers, and others – have been forced to make that choice. And who forces them? Public-sector unions; that is, unions who represent public-sector employees. How? It’s pretty straightforward. First, they demand employees pay hundreds of dollars in union dues as a condition of employment - meaning if they don’t pay, they get fired. Next, they use that money to support and elect union-friendly politicians. Then, they negotiate contracts with those same politicians – kinda like negotiating with yourself. It’s a sweet deal – unless you’re a worker who doesn’t agree with those union-friendly politicians. Or, the taxpayer who hasto foot the bill for those union contracts. This game plan is not a secret. Here’s what the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees say on their website. "We elect our bosses, so we've got to elect politicians who support us and hold those politicians accountable." These perverse incentives might help explain why for most of American history, pretty much no one thought that unionizing government workers was a good idea. This includes liberal icon President Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt was a very strong supporter of private sector unions, but a very strong opponent of public sector unions. Here’s what he said on the subject in 1937: “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining… cannot be transplanted into the public service...” Roosevelt recognized that public-sector unions could hold the government hostage at will. They could simply threaten to walk off the job if they didn’t get what they wanted. Sanitation workers, for example, could put public health at risk by refusing to collect the garbage. Other public employees would have similarly disruptive power. This was, Roosevelt believed, “unthinkable and intolerable.” In 1943 New York state’s highest court agreed, calling government unions “not only incompatible with the spirit of democracy, but inconsistent with every principle upon which our government is founded.” In the late 1950’s New York City and Wisconsin defied this view and allowed their public employees to unionize. But it was President John F. Kennedy who opened the floodgates. In order to win the support of union leadership in the 1960 presidential election, he promised to allow federal employees to unionize – and fulfilled that promise with Executive Order 10988 in 1962. It was a shrewd political move, but a bad deal for the country – and its consequences are still being felt today, as public-sector unionization spread rapidly in the decades that followed. Today, unions wield tremendous power in government. Try to fire a poor-performing government worker in New York City or Los Angeles. Or almost any unionized government employee anywhere. It’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, no matter how incompetent they might be. According to one union contract in Michigan, employees could be caught drunk at work five times before being fired. And then there are the pension plans – income paid out to government workers after they retire. Pensions barely exist in the private sector anymore. They’re much too expensive. But they’re standard for public-sector unions, and have bankrupted cities like Detroit – and have government-union-heavy states like Illinois on the brink of financial calamity. Unfunded pension obligations — that is, money that the government doesn’t have but has promised to government retirees — are anywhere from four to six trillion dollars nationwide. Over $250 billion of that belongs to Illinois alone. But fortunately, there is some hope. Today, 28 states have passed “right-to-work” laws stating that no worker can be forced to join or pay a union as a condition of employment. When joining and paying the union becomes voluntary, the same thing invariably happens: workers leave in droves. And thus the union’s ability to manipulate the system, declines sharply. Now, the US Supreme Court has extended this right to public employees in the other 22 states as well. In Janus v. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees the Court ruled that public employees cannot be compelled to pay union dues against their will. Millions of public-employees don’t want to be pawns for the union agenda. Thanks to this ruling, they no longer have to be, and we the taxpayers have a fresh opportunity to make sure that our politicians work for us – not the unions. I’m Akash Chougule, Senior Policy Fellow at Americans for Prosperity, for Prager University.



On April 30, 1943, Edward R. Finch resigned from the Court of Appeals.[1] On May 12, Governor Thomas E. Dewey appointed Thomas D. Thacher to fill the vacancy temporarily.

On July 17, 1943, Lieutenant Governor Thomas W. Wallace died, and Temporary President of the State Senate Joe R. Hanley became Acting Lieutenant Governor. The question arose if the vacancy should be filled and how to proceed.[2] The wording of the 1937 amendment to the State Constitution, which had increased the terms in office of the assemblymen to two years, and of the statewide elected officers (Governor, Lt. Gov., Comptroller and Attorney General) to four years, apparently left the question in doubt. The New York Supreme Court at Albany ruled on August 14 that a special election needed to be held.[3] This was upheld by the Court of Appeals unanimously on August 19.[4]


The Republican State Committee met on August 24 at Albany, New York. They nominated Joe R. Hanley for Lieutenant Governor; and the incumbent Judge Thomas D. Thacher to succeed himself.[5]

The Democratic State Committee met on August 24. They nominated Lt. Gen. William N. Haskell for Lieutenant Governor; and endorsed the incumbent Republican Judge Thomas D. Thacher for the Court of Appeals.[6]

The American Labor State Committee met on August 21 at the Hotel Claridge in New York City and tentatively nominated Ex-State Comptroller Joseph V. O'Leary (in office 1941-42) for Lieutenant Governor, and Leo J. Rosett for the Court of Appeals.[7] The committee met again on August 25 and endorsed the Democratic nominee Haskell and the Republican and Democratic nominee Thacher.[8]


The Republican ticket was elected.

This was the last special election for Lieutenant Governor.

1943 state election result
Ticket / Office Lieutenant Governor Judge of the Court of Appeals
Republican Joe R. Hanley 1,846,314 Thomas D. Thacher
Democratic William N. Haskell[9] 1,171,976 Thomas D. Thacher
American Labor William N. Haskell 321,106 Thomas D. Thacher


Governor Dewey criticized the ruling of the Court of Appeals, saying that the special election of a lieutenant governor was incompatible with the 1937 amendment.[10] To press his view, he recommended to the New York State Legislature to amend the State Constitution again. In November 1945, an amendment was adopted which prohibited special elections for lieutenant governor saying that "no election of a lieutenant governor shall be had in any event, except at the time of electing a governor," and that "the temporary president of the senate then in office or his successor as such temporary president shall perform all the duties of lieutenant-governor...during such vacancy..."[11]


  1. ^ Finch's term would have expired anyway at the end of the year, having reached the constitutional age limit of 70 years.
  2. ^ ISSUES ARE RAISED BY WALLACE DEATH; Legal and Political Questions Arise in Regard to Naming His Successor in NYT on July 18, 1943 (subscription required)
  3. ^ RULES FOR ELECTION TO WALLACE'S POST; Albany Court Calls It Required Under Law to Fill the Place of Lieutenant Governor in NYT on August 15, 1943 (subscription required)
  4. ^ ELECTION ORDERED FOR WALLACE POST; Three Parties Call Nominating Sessions as Appeal Court Upholds Democrats' View in the New York Times on August 20, 1943 (subscription required)
  5. ^ CONVENTIONS NAME HASKELL, HANLEY in NYT on August 25, 1943 (subscription required)
  6. ^ CONVENTIONS NAME HASKELL, HANLEY in NYT on August 25, 1943 (subscription required)
  7. ^ ALP NAMES O'LEARY FOR WALLACE POST; But Is Ready to Shelve Him for an Acceptable Democrat in NYT on August 22, 1943 (subscription required)
  8. ^ HASKELL ACCEPTED AS ALP CANDIDATE in NYT on September 26, 1937 (subscription required)
  9. ^ William N. Haskell (1878-1952), West Point graduate, World War I veteran, head of the American Relief Administration in Romania 1919, Armenia 1919-20 and Soviet Russia 1921-1923, longtime Commander of the New York National Guard
  10. ^ Ordered Liberty by Peter J. Galie (1996), page 271
  11. ^ New York State Constitution of 1938, amended and in force on January 1, 1954, Art. IV §7, page 60

See also

New York state elections

This page was last edited on 22 July 2018, at 06:03
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