New York state election, 1851
|Elections in New York State|
The 1851 New York state election was held on November 4, 1851, to elect the Secretary of State, the State Comptroller, the Attorney General, the State Treasurer, the State Engineer, a Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, a Canal Commissioner and an Inspector of State Prisons, as well as all members of the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate.
The Democratic state convention met on September 10 in Syracuse. The Whig state convention met on September 11 in Syracuse. Horace Wheaton, candidate for Canal Commissioner, was the sitting Mayor of Syracuse.
Six out of eight state offices were won by the Democrats, the most important ones by margins of a few hundred votes out of about 400,000 cast. The incumbent Chatfield was re-elected. The incumbents Seymour, Foot and Wells were defeated.
Six Democrats and four Whigs were elected to the district benches of the New York State Supreme Court.
|Office||Democratic ticket||Whig ticket|
|Secretary of State||Henry S. Randall||199,426||James C. Forsyth||198,582|
|Comptroller||John C. Wright||200,790||George W. Patterson||200,532|
|Attorney General||Levi S. Chatfield||200,205||Daniel Ullmann||199,973|
|Treasurer||Benjamin Welch, Jr.||200,465||James M. Cook||200,693|
|State Engineer||William J. McAlpine||203,032||Hezekiah C. Seymour||199,301|
|Judge of the Court of Appeals||Alexander S. Johnson||201,144||Samuel Alfred Foot||197,823|
|Canal Commissioner||Horace Wheaton||200,231||Henry Fitzhugh||201,147|
|Inspector of State Prisons||Henry Storms||202,801||Alexander H. Wells||198,578|
The Whig candidate James M. Cook was declared elected state treasurer with a majority of only 228 votes, but Attorney General Chatfield contested the result in the New York Supreme Court in favor of Welch, claiming that ballots with a name similar to that of the candidate Benjamin Welch, Jr., had been counted as "scattering" but had been intended for Welch. In fact the official state canvass shows ballots for "Benjamin Welch" in Chemung (68), Kings (1), Saratoga (1) and Tompkins (47), "B. Welch" in Chenango (1), Livingston (1) and New York (1), "B. J. Welch" in Livingston (1), and "Benjamin C. Welch, Jr." in Ontario (32); a total of 153. On the other side, the official canvass also shows votes for "J. M. Cook" in Kings (1), "J. W. Cook" in Livingston (2), "Cook" in New York (2), "James Cook" in Saratoga (1), "James A. Cook" in Suffolk (15) and "John M Cook" in Yates (1), a total of 22. Besides, votes from several election districts were disallowed on technicalities (49 for Welch and 24 for Cook in Chesterfield, Essex County, New York; 332 for Welch and 66 for Cook in the second election district of the 14th Ward in New York City). On September 30, 1852, the election result was reversed by the Supreme Court, but Cook refused to deliver the office and the books. Welch sued for the delivery of the books, but the motion was denied. After some more legal proceedings, Welch took office as Treasurer for the remainder of the term on November 20, 1852.
- Result in Official State Canvas. New-York Daily Times. January 1, 1852. p. 7.
- Harpers New Monthly Magazine (June–November 1851, pages 693ff)
- The People vs. James M. Cook in Reports of Cases in Law and Equity in the Supreme Court of the State of New York by Oliver Lorenzo Barbour (Gould, Banks & Gould, 1853; pages 259 to 328)
- Welch agt. Cook in Practice Reports in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals by Nathan Howard & Rowland M. Stover (Joel Munsell, 1852; pages 173 to 181)