Thomas W. Wallace
Thomas W. Wallace (January 24, 1900 – July 17, 1943) was an American lawyer and Republican politician. Running on the ticket with Governor Thomas E. Dewey, he was elected Lieutenant Governor of New York in November 1942, but died less than seven months into his only term.
Wallace was corporation counsel of Schenectady, New York. After serving as district attorney for Schenectady County, he was elected to the New York State Senate. While presiding over the Senate, he ran for the Republican nomination for New York Attorney General in 1942, but was instead nominated for Lieutenant Governor. Defeating incumbent Democrat Charles Poletti, he was positioned to succeed Dewey as Governor if Dewey were to win the presidency in 1944.
Wallace took office on January 1, 1943. In early July 1943, however, he contracted chicken pox from his two children. Two days later he began to suffer from pneumonia, and was placed in an oxygen tent at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady. His condition rapidly deteriorated, and he died the following week. He was buried at the Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Niskayuna, New York.
His death raised the question if the revised State Constitution, adopted in 1938, required a special election to fill the vacancy. The New York Court of Appeals decided in the affirmative, meeting with harsh criticism from Governor Dewey. An amendment to the State Constitution in 1937 had increased the New York State Assemblymen's term to two years and the State Senators had already been elected to two-year terms in even-numbered years since 1898, so that now in odd-numbered years there was no general election at all. Despite Dewey's objections, a statewide special election was held in November 1943. On recommendation of Governor Dewey, the Legislature passed, and the voters approved, a constitutional amendment which prohibited any elections for lieutenant governor in any event except at the time of the election of a governor.
- Lt. Gov. Wallace, 43, Dies Of Pneumonia, New York Times, 1943-07-18 at 1.
- Political Graveyard (Wallace), accessed 2009-09-07.
- Peter J. Galie, Ordered Liberty: A Constitutional History of New York, p. 271 (Fordham University Press, 1995), ISBN 0-8232-1652-7 , ISBN 978-0-8232-1652-9.
Joe R. Hanley
Acting Lieutenant Governor
|Lieutenant Governor of New York
Joe R. Hanley