Friday, April 1, 2011

Tammany Hall Senatoral Candidate Wins in New York

Tammany Hall's choice for the New York Senate seat vacated by Republican Chauncey Depew won yesterday in the displaced state legislature despite an effort by insurgent Democrats.  The election was a straight party-line vote with James O'Gorman winning with 112 Democratic votes and incumbent Depew receiving 80 Republican votes.

The three-month impasse came about when 19 legislators, led by State Senator Franklin Delano Roosevelt, refused to vote for a candidate perceived to have been picked by non-member political bosses.  In January, Tammany's man former lieutenant governor William Sheehan.  Sixty-three joint assembly and state senate ballots followed through the last three months, with William Sheehan just shy of winning right out.  Other candidates were put forth including Daniel Cohalan, the right-hand man of Tammany Hall Boss, Charles Francis Murphy.

However, with the opening of the special session of Congress looming on April 4, the legislature felt pressured to pick a new Senator.  Murphy put forth the New York State Supreme Court Justice, James O'Gorman, as a "compromise" candidate.  He was able to win over the Insurgent Democrats by promising that no reprisals would be exacted against them for their roadblock against Tammany's candidates.  With that promise, opposition of O'Gorman crumbled, in the words of the New York Tribune.  With only a few legislators standing with him, Roosevelt voted for O'Gorman during the joint ballot but not in the Democratic Caucus.

While the Insurgents tried to console themselves by saying that won a victory by derailing the candidacies of Sheehan and Cohalan, I agree with the view of the Tribune that the election of O'Gorman still cements Tammany Hall's and Murphy's role as leader of New York's Democratic Party.  O'Gorman was Tammany Hall's man and the judge's actions yesterday seemed to be instep with Murphy's moves on Thursday and Friday to bring insurgents to heel.  Some upstate Democrats, such as Dr. Bush, were upset that Sheehan and the results of the first democratic caucus were being pushed aside so soon when public opinion would surely bring the insurgents around.  To this, State Senate Majority Leader Al Smith told the caucus:
I believe we made every possible effort and sacrifice to keep alive the principle of majority rule.  While our duty in the first instance is to the people, we have a duty under the federal statutes to elect a Senator.  Even the most rabid of us must have become convinced of the impossibility of maintaining the position imposed on us by the first caucus and electing a Senator.  There would have been no excuse for us if Congress had convened and we had elected no senator.
The Minority Leader, Senator Brackett, later stated his sadness that the insurgents had labored so hard to defeat Tammany Hall's chosen candidate only to have a senator that is even closer to Murphy than Sheehan was.  To which Roosevelt replied:
I think the best reply I can make to Senator Brackett is that now we are a united Democratic party, while the united Republican party still casts its votes for Chauncey M. Depew.  For two and a half months certain Democrats have stood out because they believed the best interests of their party and the state demanded it.  Those men today consider themselves regular Democrats and resent any imputations of irregularity.  I believe the party has been passing through a necessary ordeal after seventeen years of Republican misrule.  The Democrats have put forward a man who will represent no narrower interests than those of the whole state.
Link: O'Gorman Senator; Murphy Wins Out [The New York Tribune]

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