Richard Elsner

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Richard Elsner (May 29, 1859 - January 18, 1938) was an American attorney and judge from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who served one term as a Socialist member of the Wisconsin State Assembly.


Elsner was born May 29, 1859 in Silesia.[citation needed] He attended public school, gymnasium and technical college in Germany. He came to Milwaukee in 1880 and became a leader of the Brewery Workers Union by 1886. Later he attended Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin Law School where he graduated in 1894, becoming a self-described "practicing lawyer by profession."

Politics and public office[edit]

By 1898, he was the Socialist nominee for Attorney General of Wisconsin, coming in fifth in a six-way race.[1] In 1900, he was again the nominee, placing fourth in a five-way race; by 1902, he had moved up to third in another five-way race,[2] repeating the performance in 1906.[3]

He was a county judge of Milwaukee County from 1910-1916. In 1916 he was the Socialist nominee for the United States Senate, coming in third in a four-way race in which incumbent Republican Robert M. La Follette, Sr. was re-elected. In 1919 Elsner was elected register of deeds of Milwaukee County for the first of two terms. He was elected a member of the assembly in November, 1922, receiving 1,679 votes to unseat incumbent Republican Leander J. Pierson (1663 votes); and was appointed to the standing committees on the judiciary and on insurance and banking.[4]

In 1924 he was not a candidate for re-election, and was succeeded by Republican Ernst F. Pahl.[5]

After legislative service[edit]

His papers are in the Special Collections of the Golda Meier Library of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.[6]