United States Senate election in New York, 1911

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The 1911 United States Senate election in New York was held from January 17 to March 31, 1911, by the New York State Legislature to elect a U.S. Senator (Class 1) to represent the State of New York in the United States Senate.

Background[edit]

Republican Chauncey M. Depew had been re-elected to this seat in 1905, and his term would expire on March 3, 1911.

At the State election in November 1910, John Alden Dix was elected Governor, the first Democratic governor since 1894; 29 Democrats, 21 Republicans and 1 Independence Leaguer were elected for a two-year term (1911–1912) in the State Senate; and 86 Democrats, 63 Republicans and 1 Independence Leaguer[1] were elected for the session of 1911 to the Assembly. The 134th New York State Legislature met from January 4 to October 6, 1911, at Albany, New York.

Candidates[edit]

First Democratic caucus[edit]

Ex-Lieutenant Governor William F. Sheehan announced his candidature formally in a letter to Mayor of Buffalo Louis P. Fuhrmann which was published on December 30, 1910. Before the State election, when a Democratic victory seemed to be improbable, Sheehan had made an agreement with Tammany Hall leader Charles Francis Murphy that the Tammany men would support Sheehan for the U.S. Senate.

The Democratic caucus met on January 16. 91 State legislators attended, but 25 were absent. Speaker Daniel D. Frisbie presided. The caucus nominated Sheehan. Edward M. Shepard, the defeated Democratic candidate for Mayor of New York in the election of 1901; and Ex-Supreme Court Justice D. Cady Herrick, the defeated Democratic candidate for Governor of New York in the election of 1904, also received votes at this caucus.

At the same time, an anti-Sheehan faction (in the press referred to as "the Insurgents") of 19 State legislators met at the Hampton Hotel, led by State Senator Franklin D. Roosevelt and issued a statement repudiating to take part in a caucus which follows orders from non-member political bosses.

1911 First Democratic caucus for United States Senator result
Office Candidate First ballot
U.S. Senator (Class 1) William F. Sheehan 62
Edward M. Shepard 22
D. Cady Herrick 7

Republican caucus[edit]

The Republican caucus met on January 16. They re-nominated the incumbent U.S. Senator Chauncey M. Depew unanimously.

Election proceedings[edit]

Deadlock[edit]

On January 17, both Houses of the State Legislature took ballots separately, but no choice was made in either. Sheehan received the votes of the 91 caucus attendees, only 1 short for a nomination in the State Senate, and 8 short in the Assembly. On January 18, the State Legislature met in joint session, compared the votes of the previous day, found that no choice was made, and proceeded to a joint ballot. On the joint ballot, Assemblyman Lewis S. Chanler, who had been Lieutenant Governor from 1907 to 1908, and the defeated Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in the election of 1909, deserted Sheehan, who received 90 votes, 9 short of election. As no choice was made, joint ballots continued to be taken every day, Monday through Saturday,[2] at noon. Gov. Dix refused to interfere in the contest, but continued to talk privately to Mayor of New York William J. Gaynor, Boss Murphy and a few prospective compromise candidates.

On February 7, after the 18th ballot, the majority leaders, Robert F. Wagner of the State Senate and Al Smith of the Assembly, called a conference for the next morning at which both factions would discuss the further proceedings. Both factions met on February 8, maintained their positions, and nothing came of it. About this time, Edward M. Shepard was taken seriously ill, and he would die a few months later.

On February 20, after the 28th ballot, Congressman Martin W. Littleton announced formally his candidature for the senatorship. Littleton had received a few scattering votes throughout the balloting, but nothing came of it.

On February 23, after the 31st ballot, a letter was received from Congressman William Sulzer stating that, if a compromise candidate was sought, he would take the senatorship. Sulzer had received a few scattering votes since the 11th ballot, but nothing came of it either.

On February 25, after the 34th ballot, Edward M. Shepard withdrew from the contest and advised the election of a compromise candidate. Most of the Insurgents then voted for two ballots for John D. Kernan, and then for Littleton.

On February 28, after the 36th ballot, Sheehan sent an open letter to the State legislators in which he declared himself for a new caucus, and his acceptance of any candidate the caucus would choose. The Insurgents answered that a new caucus was useless.

On March 3, after the 39th ballot, Governor Dix advised to abandon Sheehan, and instead to elect immediately someone "whose choice will unite the Democratic Party." Sheehan however refused to withdraw from the contest unless a new caucus chose another candidate, and none of the legislators followed Dix's advice. On the same day, the term of the incumbent Chauncey M. Depew ended, and the seat became vacant on March 4.

President William H. Taft called a special session of the U.S. Senate to convene on April 4, and all parties expressed their hope that a U.S. Senator be elected by then.

On March 7, after the 42nd ballot, Mayor Gaynor seconded Gov. Dix, and advised to abandon Sheehan. Boss Murphy however re-affirmed his support for Sheehan, and the deadlock continued as before.

Intense negotiations followed to make the way clear for a new caucus. On March 18, Boss Murphy consented to a new caucus if the Insurgents accepted the candidate chosen, whoever it be. State Senator Roosevelt refused to be led into this trap, and on March 20 told Gov. Dix that the Insurgents would not be bound by the new caucus choice, expecting the Tammany majority to nominate somebody as objectionable as Sheehan, like Daniel F. Cohalan, De Lancey Nicoll or John B. Stanchfield. On March 22, after the 55th ballot, a conference of all Democratic legislators met and agreed unanimously to call a new caucus for March 27, to reconsider the nomination made on January 16.

Results, up to 58th ballot[edit]

1911 United States Senator (Class 1) special election result
Candidate Party Senate
Jan 17
Assembly
Jan 17
Joint
ballot

Jan 18
2nd
joint
ballot
Jan 19
3rd
joint
ballot
Jan 20
4th
joint
ballot
Jan 21
5th
joint
ballot
Jan 23
6th
joint
ballot
Jan 24
7th
joint
ballot
Jan 25
8th
joint
ballot
Jan 26
9th
joint
ballot
Jan 27
William F. Sheehan Democrat 25 66 90 88 60 18 86 85 85 82 20
Chauncey M. Depew Republican 20 59 80 81 52 10 81 80 79 77 12
Edward M. Shepard Democrat 2 12 13 13 11 11 13 11 11 10 9
Alton B. Parker Democrat 6 7 7 3 2 1 1 1 1 1
James W. Gerard Democrat 1 1 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
D. Cady Herrick Democrat 1 1 2 2 3 3 3 1 1 1
Martin W. Littleton Democrat 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3
John D. Kernan[3] Democrat 2 4 4 4 4 4 5 7
Morgan J. O'Brien[4] Democrat 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
Martin H. Glynn Democrat 2 2 1 1 1 1 1
Simon W. Rosendale Democrat 1
John Alden Dix Democrat 1 1 1 1 1
Curtis N. Douglas Democrat 3 3 1
Seymour Van Santvoord[5] Democrat 1 2
John C. R. Taylor[6] Democrat 1 1
1911 United States Senator (Class 1) special election result
Candidate Party 10th
joint
ballot
Jan 28
11th
joint
ballot
Jan 30
12th
joint
ballot
Jan 31
13th
joint
ballot
Feb 1
14th
joint
ballot
Feb 2
15th
joint
ballot
Feb 3
16th
joint
ballot
Feb 4
17th
joint
ballot
Feb 6
18th
joint
ballot
Feb 7
19th
joint
ballot
Feb 8
20th
joint
ballot
Feb 9
21st
joint
ballot
Feb 10
William F. Sheehan Democrat 9 67 82 82 69 14 7 66 85 86 75 8
Chauncey M. Depew Republican 4 61 74 77 64 11 5 59 81 80 72 4
Edward M. Shepard Democrat 5 10 10 10 10 7 2 9 10 10 10 4
John D. Kernan Democrat 4 7 9 9 9 8 2 9 9 9 8 2
Martin W. Littleton Democrat 3 3 3 3 3 2 1 3 3 3 3 2
Morgan J. O'Brien Democrat 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1
Seymour Van Santvoord Democrat 2 2
Martin H. Glynn Democrat 1 3 3 3 3 3 2 3 3 3 3 1
Alton B. Parker Democrat 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
James W. Gerard Democrat 1
John C. R. Taylor Democrat 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
William Sulzer Democrat 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2
George L. Rives Democrat 1
J. Hampden Dougherty[7] Democrat 1
1911 United States Senator (Class 1) special election result
Candidate Party 22nd
joint
ballot
Feb 11
23rd
joint
ballot
Feb 13
24th
joint
ballot
Feb 14
25th
joint
ballot
Feb 15
26th
joint
ballot
Feb 16
27th
joint
ballot
Feb 17
28th
joint
ballot
Feb 18
29th
joint
ballot
Feb 20
30th
joint
ballot
Feb 21
31st
joint
ballot
Feb 22
32nd
joint
ballot
Feb 23
33rd
joint
ballot
Feb 24
William F. Sheehan Democrat 5 7 81 81 76 15 5 47 78 79 66 11
Chauncey M. Depew Republican 2 2 71 72 66 7 4 44 76 73 60 4
Edward M. Shepard Democrat 2 4 9 3 4 1 3 4 12 15 10
William Sulzer Democrat 1 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 3 3 2
Martin W. Littleton Democrat 1 1 3 3 3 3 1 3 3 3 3 2
Martin H. Glynn Democrat 1 1 3 3 2 1 1 1 1 1 1
J. Hampden Dougherty Democrat 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
George L. Rives Democrat 1
John D. Kernan Democrat 2 6 15 14 10 5 13 13 4 1 1
George F. Peabody Democrat 1 1
Morgan J. O'Brien Democrat 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1
Alton B. Parker Democrat 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
John C. R. Taylor Democrat 1
Herman N. Hansen[8] Ind. League 1 1 1
John J. Hopper[9] Ind. League 2 2 2 2 1
John N. Carlisle[10] Democrat 1 1
1911 United States Senator (Class 1) special election result
Candidate Party 34th
joint
ballot
Feb 25
35th
joint
ballot
Feb 27
36th
joint
ballot
Feb 28
37th
joint
ballot
Mar 1
38th
joint
ballot
Mar 2
39th
joint
ballot
Mar 3
40th
joint
ballot
Mar 4
41st
joint
ballot
Mar 6
42nd
joint
ballot
Mar 7
43rd
joint
ballot
Mar 8
44th
joint
ballot
Mar 9
45th
joint
ballot
Mar 10
46th
joint
ballot
Mar 11
William F. Sheehan Democrat 5 9 80 77 66 9 6 6 80 79 65 3 2
Chauncey M. Depew Republican 4 75 71 59 3 2 2 74 75 57 4 1
Edward M. Shepard Democrat 2
Martin W. Littleton Democrat 1 4 7 18 18 13 3 14 18 17 16 9 1
John J. Hopper Ind. League 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 1
John D. Kernan Democrat 10 11 1 1 1
Morgan J. O'Brien Democrat 2 2 3 3 2 1 1 4 4 4 1
William Sulzer Democrat 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1
John N. Carlisle Democrat 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Martin H. Glynn Democrat 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
J. Hampden Dougherty Democrat 1 1
Edward M. Grout[11] Democrat 1 1
Thomas F. Conway Democrat 1
Simon W. Rosendale Democrat 1
Alton B. Parker Democrat 1 1 1 1 1 1
Edward Lazansky Democrat 1 1
Luke D. Stapleton[12] Democrat 1 1
Isaac M. Kapper[13] Democrat 1 1 1 1
Thomas M. Mulry[14] Democrat 1
Herman Ridder Democrat 1 1 1
1911 United States Senator (Class 1) special election result
Candidate Party 47th
joint
ballot
Mar 13
48th
joint
ballot
Mar 14
49th
joint
ballot
Mar 15
50th
joint
ballot
Mar 16
51st
joint
ballot
Mar 17
52nd
joint
ballot
Mar 18
53rd
joint
ballot
Mar 20
54th
joint
ballot
Mar 21
55th
joint
ballot
Mar 22
56th
joint
ballot
Mar 23
57th
joint
ballot
Mar 24
58th
joint
ballot
Mar 25
William F. Sheehan Democrat 7 74 78 64 7 2 3 78 81 63 5 3
Chauncey M. Depew Republican 1 69 73 56 2 2 2 69 74 53 1 1
Martin W. Littleton Democrat 6 18 11 12 3 1 4 11 10 7 1 1
Morgan J. O'Brien Democrat 1 4 4 3 1 1 2 5 4 4 1
John D. Kernan Democrat 3 2 6 7 5 1 3 7 9 10 3 1
John J. Hopper Ind. League 1 2 2 1 2 2 2 1 1
William Sulzer Democrat 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1
Martin H. Glynn Democrat 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
John N. Carlisle Democrat 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
J. Hampden Dougherty Democrat 1
Alton B. Parker Democrat 1 1 1 1 1 1
David A. Boody Democrat 1 1 1 1
Thomas Carmody Democrat 1
Augustus Thomas 1
Joseph D. Baucus[15] Democrat 1

Second Democratic caucus[edit]

In the morning of March 27, before the 59th ballot, State Senator Edgar T. Brackett, the Republican minority leader, tried to articulate a combination of Republicans and Insurgents to elect an independent Democrat, but was opposed by Edwin A. Merritt, the Republican minority leader in the Assembly, and the offer was turned down by State Senator Roosevelt.

The second Democratic caucus met on the evening of March 27, after the 59th ballot. President pro tempore of the State Senate Robert F. Wagner presided. 90 State legislators attended, among them only 4 Insurgents. Sheehan received 28 votes, and the remainder was scattered among 24 other men, but none for the Insurgents' frontrunner Martin W. Littleton. The caucus then adjourned to meet again on the next evening.

In the morning of March 28, before the 60th ballot, Chauncey M. Depew sent a telegram from Washington, D.C. releasing the Republican State legislators from their caucus pledges, and Merritt now voiced his support of the coalition scheme. Brackett announced that the Republicans would meet in a conference to consider the combination with the Insurgents.

The Democratic caucus met again in the evening of March 28, after the 60th ballot. Four ballots were taken, with no choice, and the caucus adjourned in the small hours of March 29 until the next morning. An hour after the adjournment, a fire broke out in the Assembly library which consumed the west wing of the New York State Capitol. The State Legislature moved to temporary accommodations in the Albany City Hall.

The Republican conference met in the morning of March 29, before the 61st ballot, but many legislators did not appear and no action was taken. Besides, taking the fire as an excuse, most Republicans paired with regular Democrats and went home, so that no quorum was present at the joint sessions of March 29 and 30.

The Democratic caucus met again on March 29, after the 61st ballot, but did not take any vote. State Senator Roosevelt led an Insurgent committee which informed the caucus attendees that, unless one of the names on a list submitted earlier (with the names of Herrick, Gerard, Straus, Glynn, Littleton, Dowling, Van Wyck, Parker, Kernan, Ridder and Carlisle) would be chosen, the Insurgents and Republicans would elect John D. Kernan on the next joint ballot of the State Legislature.

On March 30, the announced coalition did not materialize. Despite the Republican leaders supporting the scheme, most legislators did not attend the joint session. Besides, the Democratic caucus did not meet again, the negotiations continued only behind the scenes.

On March 31, Boss Murphy proposed James A. O'Gorman, a justice of the New York Supreme Court whose name had never been mentioned until the first meeting of the second caucus when O'Gorman received a single vote on the first ballot.[16] After some debate, the Insurgents accepted O'Gorman. Thereupon the caucus met again, and 14 Insurgents attended, but Roosevelt did not. O'Gorman was nominated, and the State Legislature was convened in the evening to elect him. Thus ended the longest legislative deadlock in New York history after 74 days.

1911 Second Democratic caucus for United States Senator result
Office Candidate 1st
ballot
Mar 27
2nd
ballot
Mar 28
3rd
ballot
Mar 28
4th
ballot
Mar 28
5th
ballot
Mar 28/29
6th
ballot
Mar 31
U.S. Senator (Class 1) William F. Sheehan 28 27 27 26 26 23
Augustus Van Wyck 7 8 8 8 8 1
John J. Fitzgerald 6 6 6 6 6
Isidor Straus 5 5 5 12 12 5
John D. Kernan 4 4 4 4 4 3
Theodore Sutro 4 1 1 1 1
Daniel F. Cohalan 4 1 1 1 1
James W. Gerard 3 4 4 3 3
William Sulzer 3 3 3 3 3 1
Herman Ridder 3 2 2 2 2
D. Cady Herrick 3 1 3 1 1 4
James A. Renwick 3
Joseph A. Goulden 2 6 5
Morgan J. O'Brien 2 2 2 2 2
William Bruce Ellison 2 2 2 1 1
Victor J. Dowling 2 2 2 1 1
James A. O'Gorman 1 1 1 2 2 63
Francis B. Harrison 1 1 1 1 1
John B. Stanchfield 1 1 1 1 1
Edward M. Grout 1 1 1 1 1
Edward E. McCall 1 1 1 1 1
Samuel Untermyer 1 1 1 1 1
John Alden Dix 1 1 1 1 1
Alton B. Parker 1 1
John Lynn 1
John Anderson Leach[17] 3 3 3 3
Thomas M. Mulry 1 1 1 1
J. M. Levy 1 1 1 1
Martin H. Glynn 1 1
Edward A. Richards 1

Election results, 59th through 64th ballot[edit]

1911 United States Senator (Class 1) special election result
Candidate Party 59th
joint
ballot
Mar 27
60th
joint
ballot
Mar 28
61st
joint
ballot
Mar 29
62nd
joint
ballot
Mar 30
63rd
joint
ballot
Mar 31
noon
64th
joint
ballot
Mar 31
5 p.m.
Martin W. Littleton Democrat 17 22 2 3
William F. Sheehan Democrat 16 28 4 6 7
Chauncey M. Depew Republican 11 80 7 11 14 80
Morgan J. O'Brien Democrat 3 4 1 1 1
Martin H. Glynn Democrat 2 1 1
John D. Kernan Democrat 1 4 23 12 5
Alton B. Parker Democrat 1 1
John J. Hopper Ind. League 1
John N. Carlisle Democrat 1 3 1
Augustus Van Wyck Democrat 7 1 3 2
Joseph A. Goulden Democrat 6
John J. Fitzgerald Democrat 6
Isidor Straus Democrat 5 2 9 9
James W. Gerard Democrat 4 1 2
Herman Ridder Democrat 3 1 1
Victor J. Dowling Democrat 3 1 1
William Sulzer Democrat 3 1 1
William Bruce Ellison[18] Democrat 3 1
James A. Renwick[19] Democrat 3
Theodore Sutro[20] Democrat 3
D. Cady Herrick Democrat 2 3 4 11
James A. O'Gorman Democrat 1 3 112
Francis B. Harrison Democrat 1
John B. Stanchfield Democrat 1
Edward E. McCall Democrat 1
Samuel Untermyer Democrat 1
John Alden Dix Democrat 1
Frank S. Black Republican 1
Daniel F. Cohalan Democrat 1 1
Edward M. Grout Democrat 1
John Lynn[21] Democrat 1
Charles W. Cosad[22] Democrat 1

Aftermath[edit]

By become a leader of the anti-Tammany legislators almost immediately after his election to the State Senate, and having survived ten weeks of what a biographer later described as "the full might of Tammany" against him, Roosevelt achieved his first victory as an elective official.[23] This was the last U.S. senatorial election by the State Legislature. The U.S. Constitution was amended soon after, and since 1914 U.S. Senators have been elected statewide by popular ballot. O'Gorman took his seat on April 4, 1911, and served a single term, remaining in the U.S. Senate until March 3, 1917. In November 1916, Republican William M. Calder was elected to succeed O'Gorman.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Independence League members usually caucused with the Democrats.
  2. ^ On Saturdays, and mostly on Mondays and Fridays, a large part of the State legislators preferred to be paired, and spent the week-end at home.
  3. ^ John Devereux Kernan (1844-1922), lawyer, son of Francis Kernan, State Railroad Commissioner 1882-87, Obit in NYT on December 30, 1922
  4. ^ Morgan Joseph O'Brien (1852-1937), NY Supreme Court justice 1887-1905, Obit in NYT on June 17, 1937 (subscription required)
  5. ^ Seymour Van Santvoord (1858-1938), lawyer, author, banker, of Troy, Counsel to Gov. John Alden Dix 1912, Chairman of the Public Service Commission 1914-18, Obit in NYT on November 16, 1938 (subscription required)
  6. ^ John C. R. Taylor (ca. 1866-1937), lawyer, of Middletown, state senator 1907-08, Obit in NYT on April 27, 1937 (subscription required)
  7. ^ John Hampden Dougherty (1849-1918), lawyer, of Brooklyn, father of Walter Hampden, author of The Electoral System of the United States
  8. ^ Herman N. Hansen (1870-1913), lawyer, of Brooklyn, Obit in NYT on December 1, 1913; [the Assembly journal states the name as "J. Hausen"]
  9. ^ John J. Hopper (d. 1923), civil engineer, of New York City, ran for Governor in 1910, State Chairman of the Independence League, Register of New York County 1915-18, Obit in NYT on May 17, 1923 (subscription required)
  10. ^ John Nelson Carlisle (1866-1931), lawyer, of Watertown
  11. ^ Edward Marshall Grout (1861-1931), of Brooklyn, Brooklyn Borough President 1898-1901, New York City Comptroller 1902-05, Obit in NYT on November 10, 1931 (subscription required)
  12. ^ Luke D. Stapleton (1869-1923), of Brooklyn, NY Supreme Court justice 1908-17, Obit in NYT on February 13, 1923 (subscription required)
  13. ^ Isaac Mark Kapper (b. 1864), of Brooklyn, New York University School of Law graduate 1887, NY Supreme Court justice 1911-34
  14. ^ Thomas Maurice Mulry (1855-1916), of New York City, President of the Emigrant Savings Bank, namesake of Mulry Square, Obit in NYT on March 12, 1916
  15. ^ Joseph Deyhoe Baucus, lawyer, of New York City, Princeton University graduate 1886
  16. ^ O'Gorman's nomination after three dozens of candidates were speculated about or voted for, while he was not even mentioned for 70 days, makes him possibly the "darkest horse" that ever won an election in the United States.
  17. ^ John Anderson Leach (1865-1936), lawyer, of Hollis, Queens, NYC Deputy Police Commissioner 1918-35
  18. ^ William Bruce Ellison (1857-1924), assemblyman 1893, NYC Water, Gas and Electricity Commissioner 1905-06, NYC Corporation Counsel 1906-07
  19. ^ James Armstrong Renwick (1857-1937), lawyer, of Flushing, Queens, President of the Village of Flushing before the Consolidation, ran for Queens Borough President in 1897 on the Citizens Union ticket, Obit in NYT on August 17, 1937 (subscription required)
  20. ^ Theodore Sutro (1845-1927), lawyer, of New York City, Harvard graduate 1871, Columbia Law School graduate 1874, NYC Tax Commissioner 1895-1901, Short bio and sketch in NYT on June 7, 1895; Obit in NYT on August 29, 1927 (subscription required)
  21. ^ John Lynn (d. 1933), merchant, of New York City, Obit in NYT on November 22, 1933 (subscription required)
  22. ^ Cosad was a sitting member of the State Assembly, and received a vote from Assemblyman John B. Trombly
  23. ^ Gunther, John (1950). Roosevelt in Retrospect. Harper & Brothers. pp. 203–204. 

Sources[edit]