In 1912, he ran for Secretary of State of New York but was defeated by Democrat Mitchell May. He was Secretary of State of New York from 1915 to 1920, elected in 1914, 1916 and 1918. As Secretary of State, he signed the joint resolution of the Senate and Assembly submitting a women's suffrage ballot question.
In Watertown, Hugo practiced law with Nicholas Doxtater Yost, father of Charles Woodruff Yost.
He married Florence Goodale, and their son was Francis G. Hugo.
- Haddock, John A. (1895). A Souvenir of the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence River.
- "Francis Hugo Dies, Ex-State Official". New York Times, Dec. 31, 1930 (subscription required)
- "SIGNS SUFFRAGE BILL.; State's Secretary Certifies Resolution for Applauding Women.". New York Times. February 19, 1915.
- "Czar of Realism". Time Magazine. 1923-03-17. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
-  Political Graveyard
|New York Secretary of State
John J. Lyons