1912 Minnesota gubernatorial election

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1912 Minnesota gubernatorial election

← 1910 November 5, 1912 1914 →
  AOEberhart-official.jpg Peter Ringdahl 1910.jpg
Nominee Adolph Olson Eberhart Peter M. Ringdal Paul V. Collins
Party Republican Democratic Progressive
Popular vote 129,688 99,659 33,455
Percentage 40.73% 31.30% 10.51%

 
Nominee Engebret E. Lobeck David Morgan
Party Prohibition Public Ownership
Popular vote 29,876 25,769
Percentage 9.38% 8.09%

MNGubernatorial1912.svg
County Results

Eberhart:      30-40%      40-50%      50-60%
Ringdal:      30-40%      40-50%      50–60%
Lobeck:      30-40%

Morgan:      30-40%

Governor before election

Adolph O. Eberhart
Republican

Elected Governor

Adolph Olson Eberhart
Republican

The 1912 Minnesota gubernatorial election took place on November 5, 1912. Republican Party of Minnesota candidate Adolph Olson Eberhart defeated Democratic Party of Minnesota challenger Peter M. Ringdal.

Republican primary[edit]

Background[edit]

In 1909, then-Lieutenant Governor Adolph Eberhart ascended to the governorship after the death of Democratic Governor John A. Johnson. Eberhart entered office during a time of political upheaval in Minnesota.

The Democrats had not won the governorship in Minnesota from 1860 until nearly 1900 when John Lind was elected Governor in 1898 in a union ticket with the People's Party. Since then, Democrats had been able to consolidate significant third-party movements in Minnesota and had won the governorship in 1904, 1906, and 1908 under Governor John A. Johnson whose reforms had won him bipartisan appeal. He was compared to Abraham Lincoln and was hailed as an "idol of the people."[1]

However, Democrats had not successfully consolidated all third parties in Minnesota. The Prohibition Party, formerly allied with the Republicans, was gaining strength in the run up to the passage of the 18th Amendment. Additionally, a Socialist Party popular with Scandinavian immigrants had sprung up on the Iron Range under the name of the Public Ownership Party.[2]

Not only were Republicans contending with a newly strong Democratic Party and insurgent third parties, but also with a significant rebellion from their own voters. Just as such a rift had festered in the presidential election, the divide between progressive Republicans and reactionary Republicans grew to a fever pitch in Minnesota. Progressive Republicans held that reactionary Republicans (like Governor Eberhart) had been using their political machine to hold up popular reforms of the day, like referenda, recall elections, and railroad regulations.[3]

All these factors were amplified by the fact that this was Minnesota's first ever statewide primary in 1912.[3]

Campaign[edit]

Early in 1912, it was speculated that incumbent Senator Knute Nelson would not be running for a third term under a new Minnesota law that provided for the direct election of United States Senators. Governor Eberhart reportedly dashed his plans of running for reelection and was planning on running for Nelson's seat.[4] Days later, however, Eberhart announced his plans to run for reelection on January 12th after Nelson announced his run for the Senate.[5]

Three days later, former Speaker of the Minnesota House William E. Lee and Lieutenant Governor Sam Y. Gordon threw their hats in the ring.[6] At an event in Browns Valley, Gordon characterized his run for Governor "as a challenge of the right of... [business] interests to dominate public affairs, and to dictate party policies."

In early February, Lewis C. Spooner, a more traditional Republican, was reportedly encouraging Edwin H. Canfield, a former State Senator from Luverne, to run for Governor and take votes from Eberhart. Canfield declined, which forced Spooner into the race by April.[7][8]

Starting in May, non-binding Republican county conventions showed deep distaste for the incumbent governor. At the first convention in Kandiyohi County, Eberhart did not carry a single precinct.[9]

After the passage of the bill calling for Minnesota's first statewide primary, Edward Young, of Appleton, announced his candidacy for the governorship in late June.[10] In early July, a political newcomer by the name of Martin Falk jumped into the race. He was considered so obscure that the Duluth Herald remarked that he would "very likely never be Governor of Minnesota."[11]

By late July, a rift had formed between the serious candidates. After the contentious 1912 Republican National Convention, Gordon announced that he would not support William Taft's candidacy and would support Teddy Roosevelt's bid instead. Eberhart and Spooner vowed to support the party's choice of Taft. This, coupled with the announcement that the primary would be ranked-choice, inspired Eberhart's campaign to publish a paper denouncing Lee, Gordon, and Young, but leaving critiques of Spooner out, thus offering Spooner a tacit endorsement for second choice.[12] Later, Young announced that he would support Democrat Woodrow Wilson in the presidential election.[13]

The 1912 harvest season was especially strong in Minnesota, which left farmers too busy to attend political rallies. The candidates all abandoned their speaking tours for weeks during August as no one could rally enough support to fill a hall. One farmer remarked "My wheat means more to me than who is going to be elected."[14]

In late August, as the primary date approached, progressive Republicans worried that their candidates were splitting the anti-Eberhart vote. They had hoped the second-choice provision on ballots would save them, but voters were increasingly skeptical of the option. Notably, Gordon's campaign manager quit and Gordon nearly dropped out.[15]

The final days of the campaign were marked with controversy over the second-choice provision and endorsements from various groups and politicians. The Duluth Herald proclaimed the coming primary to be the "Last Stand of [the] Republican Machine."[3]

Candidates[edit]

Nominated[edit]

Eliminated in Primary[edit]

Withdrawn[edit]

Declined[edit]

Endorsements[edit]

Adolph O. Eberhart (GOP)

Mayors

City Officials

William Lee (GOP)

National organizations

Edward Young (GOP)

State Elected Officials

  • George T. Simpson, former Minnesota Attorney General[23]

Results[edit]

Results by county:

For this primary, the Minnesota Republican Party used a ranked-choice system. In its implementation, the system was mistrusted by voters who believed their first choices would be ignored for their second choices by party operatives. As a result, less than 10% of voters indicated a second choice.[24] Only second choices were allowed.

The primary was held on September 17th.

Runoff round tabulation[25]
Candidate Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5
votes

(% of active)

transfer votes

(% of active)

transfer votes

(% of active)

transfer votes

(% of active)

transfer votes

(% of active)

Adolph Olson Eberhart 62,402 38.0% +671 63,073 39.6% +555 63,628 42.2% +769 64,397 45.8% +2,160 66,557 57.5%
William E. Lee 40,571 24.7% +363 40,934 25.7% +1,699 42,633 28.2% +983 43,616 31.0% +5,497 49,113 42.5%
Edward T. Young 30,398 18.5% +260 30,658 19.3% +1,138 31,796 21.1% +878 32,674 23.2% -32,674
Lewis C. Spooner 12,233 7.5% +178 12,411 7.8% +449 12,860 8.5% -12,860
Sam Y. Gordon 11,927 7.3% +221 12,148 7.6% -12,148
Martin F. Falk 6,536 4.0% -6,536
Active Ballots (% of Valid) 164,067 100% 159,224 97.0% 150,917 92.0% 140,687 85.7% 115,670 70.5%
Exhausted Ballots (% of Valid) 0 0.0% +4,843 4,843 3.0% +8,307 13,150 8.0% +10,230 23,380 14.3% +25,017 48,397 29.5%

Democratic primary[edit]

Background[edit]

Minnesota had been a Republican stronghold for decades, but it appeared that this Republican dominance was waning. The Republicans, divided between their reactionary and progressive factions, were more concerned with fighting among themselves than fighting the historically weak Minnesota Democratic Party. Having built something of a bench in the state, Minnesota Democrats were optimistic for 1912, as were outside observers. The Duluth Herald remarked that "there was never a time in Minnesota when the Democratic outlook was so bright."[26]

Campaign[edit]

Peter M. Ringdal was first mentioned for the governorship early in 1912, along with other Minnesota Democrats.[27] He was known as a "true progressive" and one of the leaders of the progressive movement in Minnesota. One paper remarked that Ringdal was the Nestor of Minnesota progressives.[28]

In March, prominent members of the Minnesota Democratic Party met to discuss the coming party convention and primary. In their meeting, they expressed that they believed Woodrow Wilson would receive the state's Democratic delegates.[29] They also expressed confidence that then-Congressman Winfield Scott Hammond would be a good candidate for governor, though they would settle for Ringdal as a decent second choice.

In April, the Minneapolis Democratic Party endorsed Charles M. Andrist, a French language professor at the University of Minnesota.[30] Andrist had not yet decided to run for governor, so the endorsement came as a surprise. On May 23, Andrist officially entered the race and unveiled his platform at a banquet in Minneapolis.[31] His platform included some favorite progressive reforms of the day, like the popular election of Senators, campaign finance reforms, and allowing high schools to teach agricultural studies.

In late July, both Ringdal and Andrist officially paid the $50 filing fee.[32] The Democratic organization in Minnesota asked Andrist to withdraw and support Ringdal to boost their chances of winning in the general election.[33] This was part of a theme that year: the Democratic organization, sensing a weakly united Republican organization, was seeking to forward their strongest ticket without any primary challenges. However, their attempt to crowd out Andrist seems to have emboldened another professor, who told many that he had decided to run for governor: Peter M. Magnusson of St. Cloud.[34] He never officially filed, however, and did not appear on primary ballots.

Representative government without direct popular control of its politics is a relic of an age that is gone.

Peter M. Ringdal, The Duluth Herald[35]

As the campaign got underway, Ringdal positioned himself as a progressive Democrat. His platform supported popular reforms such as initiative and referendum, workmen's compensation, and a progressive tax structure.[36] Though Andrist, Ringdal's only competitor, was understood to be a man of "high character," he remained an unknown entity whose platform was not well-known and who was without a particularly organized campaign.[37]

On Labor Day, Ringdal was joined by progressive Republican James Peterson to speak at the Labor Day festivities in Duluth. He spoke at length in support of unions and of breaking up trusts.[38]

In the final weeks of the campaign, observers accused Ringdal of being the candidate of the "Democrat machine," just as they had accused Governor Eberhart of being a product of the Republican "machine."[39] It was noted that Ringdal campaigned little compared to Andrist and was seemingly expecting the nomination without having to campaign.[40]

In the final days of the campaign, it was remarked by many local newspapers that Ringdal was the heavy favorite.[41]

Endorsements[edit]

Peter M. Ringdal (Dem)

Newspapers

  • Freeborn County Standard[42]

Candidates[edit]

Nominated[edit]

  • Peter M. Ringdal, chairman of the State Board of Control, former State Senator[43][44]

Eliminated in Primary[edit]

Withdrawn[edit]

Declined[edit]

Results[edit]

Results by county:

The Democrats did not run a ranked-choice primary.

Minnesota Democratic gubernatorial primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Peter M. Ringdal 19,871 63.21%
Democratic Charles M. Andrist 11,567 36.79%
Total votes 31,438 100%

Results[edit]

1912 Gubernatorial Election, Minnesota
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Adolph Olson Eberhart 129,688 40.73% -15.01%
Democratic Peter M. Ringdal 99,659 31.30% -3.93%
Progressive Paul V. Collins 33,455 10.51% n/a
Prohibition Engebret E. Lobeck 29,876 9.38% +6.34%
Public Ownership David Morgan 25,769 8.09% +4.30%
Majority 30,029 9.43%
Turnout 318,447
Republican hold Swing

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "State's Executive Succumbs". The Minneapolis Tribune. 21 September 1909. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  2. ^ "Socialists Vote Large". The Duluth Herald. 30 September 1912. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Last Stand of Machine". The Duluth Herald. 14 September 1912. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  4. ^ "News and Views of Minnesota Politics". The Duluth Herald. 1 January 1912. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  5. ^ "Gov. Eberhart Announces Candidacy for Re-election". The Minneapolis Morning Tribune. 13 January 1912. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  6. ^ "Gordon Announces Candidacy and Hurls Bombs at Interests; Lee Also Enters the Contest". The Duluth Herald. 15 January 1912. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "Behind the Political Scenes". The Redwood Gazette. 6 February 1912. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  8. ^ a b Warming, L. A. (11 April 1912). "Editorials". St. Charles Union. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  9. ^ "Kandiyohi is for Lee". Willmar Tribune. 15 May 1912. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  10. ^ "-". The Republican Press. 28 June 1912. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  11. ^ a b "'Who is Martin Falk?'". The Duluth Herald. 9 July 1912. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Minnesota Politics". The Duluth Herald. 22 July 1912. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Three Factions in G.O.P. Ranks". The Redwood Gazette. 23 July 1912. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  14. ^ "Promises to be Quietest Ever". Morris Tribune. 16 August 1912. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  15. ^ "Would Select Strongest Man". Mower County Tribune. 28 August 1912. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  16. ^ "Spooner, Lewis C. - Legislator Record - Minnesota Legislators Past & Present". www.leg.mn.gov. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  17. ^ "News and Views of Minnesota Politics". The Duluth Herald. 8 January 1912. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  18. ^ "Political Gossip from the Capital". The Aitkin Independent. 29 June 1912. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  19. ^ "A Change is Needed". The Northfield News. 17 August 1912. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  20. ^ "A Change is Needed". The Northfield News. 17 August 1912. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  21. ^ "La Follette Will Come". The Minneapolis Morning Tribune. 19 August 1912. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  22. ^ "Minnesota Politics". The Duluth Herald. 25 July 1912. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  23. ^ Authier, George F. (23 July 1912). "Roosevelt Men Anxious". The Minneapolis Morning Tribune. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  24. ^ Bell, Floyd L. (7 September 1912). "38 Per Cent Victor". The Hector Mirror.
  25. ^ Schmahl, Julius A. (1913). Minnesota Legislative Manual, 1913.
  26. ^ McCarthy, George (25 July 1912). "Minnesota Politics". The Duluth Herald. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  27. ^ "P. M. Ringdal". The Virginia Republican. 5 January 1912. Retrieved 23 November 2020.
  28. ^ "Ringdal Files; Can be Elected". The Labor World. 3 August 1912. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  29. ^ "Political Gossip from the Capital". The Aitkin Independent. 23 March 1912. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  30. ^ "11 April 1912". The Minneapolis Morning Tribune. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  31. ^ "Mr. Andrist's Platform Out". The Minneapolis Morning Tribune. 24 May 1912. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  32. ^ "Ringdal Throws his Hat". The Bemidji Daily Pioneer. 26 July 1912. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  33. ^ "Ask his Withdrawl". Houston Signal. 1 August 1912. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  34. ^ Authier, George (20 July 1912). "Northwest Politics". The Minneapolis Morning Tribune. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  35. ^ "Progressive Stand is Taken by Ringdal on State Problems". The Duluth Herald. 14 August 1912. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  36. ^ "Progressive Stand is Taken by Ringdal on State Problems". The Duluth Herald. 14 August 1912. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  37. ^ "Who Andrist Is". Little Falls Herald. 16 August 1912. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  38. ^ "Nearly 700 Men in Line for Parade". The Duluth Herald. 2 September 1912. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  39. ^ "Thousands After Office". The Morris Tribune. 6 September 1912. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  40. ^ Lawson, John (6 September 1912). "From the State Capital". The News Messenger of Lyon County. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  41. ^ "P. M. Ringdal". Little Falls Herald. 13 September 1912. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  42. ^ "Democratic Nominees Entitled to Voters' Support". Freeborn County Standard. 11 September 1912. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  43. ^ "State Politics are Brewing". Wabasha County Herald. 25 January 1912. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  44. ^ "Ringdal, Peter M. "P.M." - Legislator Record - Minnesota Legislators Past & Present". www.leg.mn.gov. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  45. ^ McCarthy, George (20 July 1912). "Minnesota Politics". The Duluth Herald. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  46. ^ Authier, George (26 July 1912). "Third Party Ticket Vetoed". The Minneapolis Morning Tribune. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  47. ^ "Colonel Will Have Control". The Princeton Union. 16 May 1912. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  48. ^ G., W. (13 March 1912). "Hurrah for "Billy!"". The Duluth Herald. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  49. ^ "McEwen Getting Pointers". The Duluth Herald. 17 February 1912. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  50. ^ "-". The Virginia Enterprise. 16 August 1912. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  51. ^ a b c "Minnesota Politics". The Duluth Herald. 7 June 1912. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  52. ^ "Anderson, Samuel G. "S.G." - Legislator Record - Minnesota Legislators Past & Present". www.leg.mn.gov. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  53. ^ a b McCarthy, George (22 January 1912). "News and Views of Minnesota Politics". The Duluth Herald. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  54. ^ a b McCarthy, George (11 March 1912). "News and Views of Minnesota Politics". The Duluth Herald. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  55. ^ "Many Men Mentioned for Governor's Job". The Labor World. 9 March 1912. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  56. ^ a b "Minnesota Politics". The Duluth Herald. 9 July 1912. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  57. ^ Authier, George (11 March 1912). "Roosevelt Men Anxious". The Minneapolis Morning Tribune. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  58. ^ "Wilson on the Money Trust". Little Falls Herald. 12 April 1912. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  59. ^ "John Jenswold Enters Congressional Race". The Duluth Herald. 26 August 1912. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  60. ^ "Pfaender, Albert - Legislator Record - Minnesota Legislators Past & Present". www.leg.mn.gov. Retrieved 2020-11-26.

External links[edit]