1938 New York state election

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New York gubernatorial election, 1938
Flag of New York (1901-2020).svg
← 1936 November 6, 1938 1942 →
  Herbert Lehman.jpg Thomas E. Dewey cph.3b29710.jpg
Nominee Herbert H. Lehman Thomas E. Dewey
Party Democratic Republican
Alliance American Labor Independent Progressive
Popular vote 2,391,286 2,326,892
Percentage 50.38% 49.02%

Governor before election

Herbert H. Lehman

Elected Governor

Herbert H. Lehman

The 1938 New York state election was held on November 8, 1938, to elect the governor, the lieutenant governor, the state comptroller, the attorney general, two U.S. Senators and two U.S Representatives-at-large, as well as all members of the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate.


The Republican state convention met on September 29, Speaker Oswald D. Heck presided. They nominated D.A. of New York Thomas E. Dewey for Governor. Also nominated were Frederic H. Bontecou for Lieutenant Governor; Julius Rothstein for Comptroller; Col. Arthur V. McDermott for Attorney General; and John Lord O'Brian and Edward Corsi for the U.S. Senate.[1]

The Democratic state convention met on October 1, and re-nominated the incumbents Lehman, Tremaine, Bennett and Wagner; and completed the ticket with Supreme Court Justice Charles Poletti for Lieutenant Governor; and John M. Mead for short term in the U.S. Senate.[2]

The Socialist state convention met on October 1, and nominated again Norman Thomas for Governor; and Dr. George W. Hartmann for Lieutenant Governor; Coleman B. Cheney for Comptroller; and Miss Marion L. Severn for Attorney General.[3]

The American Labor state convention met on October 3 at the Manhattan Opera House in New York City and nominated the Democratic incumbent Herbert H. Lehman for Governor. They also endorsed Democrats Poletti, Wagner, Mead,[4] Merritt and O'Day; and completed the ticket with Langdon W. Post for Comptroller and Joseph V. O'Leary for Attorney-General.[5]

The "Independent Progressive" Party filed a petition to nominate a ticket headed by Republican Thomas E. Dewey. This was done to have a second ballot line, like Gov. Lehman who ran on two lines also.[6]

The Socialist Labor Party changed its name and filed a petition to nominate candidates as the "Industrial Government Party.[7]


The whole Democratic ticket was elected.

The incumbents Lehman, Tremaine, Bennett, Wagner, Merritt and O'Day were re-elected.

This was the last election in which the Governor was elected every two years

1938 state election results
Office Democratic ticket Republican ticket American Labor ticket Communist ticket Socialist ticket Independent Progressive ticket Industrial Government ticket
Governor Herbert H. Lehman 1,971,307 Thomas E. Dewey 2,302,505 Herbert H. Lehman 419,979 (none) Norman Thomas 24,980 Thomas E. Dewey 24,387 Aaron M. Orange 3,516
Lieutenant Governor Charles Poletti 1,976,166 Frederic H. Bontecou 2,130,088 Charles Poletti 395,313 George W. Hartmann[a] 29,282 Frederic H. Bontecou 12,030 Jacob Berlin 4,012
Comptroller Morris S. Tremaine 2,220.931 Julius Rothstein 1,829,006 Langdon W. Post[b] 413,234 Langdon W. Post 25,910 Julius Rothstein 10,703 Jacob Grossman 4,323
Attorney General John J. Bennett, Jr. 2,151,831 Arthur V. McDermott[c] 1,950,187 Joseph V. O'Leary 391,901 Joseph O'Leary 23,963 Arthur V. McDermott 11,044 Frank Passonno 8.756
U.S. Senator (full term) Robert F. Wagner 2,098,919 John Lord O'Brian 2,046,794 Robert F. Wagner 398,410 Herman J. Hahn[d] 23,553 John Lord O'Brian 11,821 O. Martin Olson[e] 3,851
U.S. Senator (short term)[f] James M. Mead 2,060,876 Edward F. Corsi 2,083,666 James M. Mead 378,028 Harry W. Laidler 27,161
U.S. Representative-at-large Matthew J. Merritt 2,023,131 Richard B. Scandrett, Jr. 1,980,352 Matthew J. Merritt 329,029 Israel Amter 105,681 Brendan Sexton 24,990 Richard B. Scandrett 10,103 Jeremiah D. Crowley[g] 5,080
U.S. Representative-at-large Caroline O'Day 2,024,135 Helen Z. M. Rodgers 2,000,814 Caroline O'Day 339,328 Edna Mitchell Blue[h] 25,214 Helen Z.M. Rogers 10,753 William Herlet 4,291


  • "Blank, void and scattering" votes: 75,047 (Governor)
  • The vote for Governor is used to define ballot access, for all other offices numbers are totals on all tickets for candidates nominated on more than one.


  1. ^ Dr. George Wilfried Hartmann (1904-1955), psychologist, of Columbia University, editor of The Social Frontier, ran also for Mayor of New York in 1941
  2. ^ Langdon W. Post (1899-1981), Harvard graduate, Dem. assemblyman 1929-32, Chairman of the New York City Housing Authority under Mayor La Guardia, LANGDON W. POST, 82, DEAD; HOUSING AND LABOR ADVISOR in NYT on September 5, 1981 (subscription required)
  3. ^ Col. Arthur V. McDermott, of Brooklyn, lawyer, during World War II New York City Director of the Selective Service Administration
  4. ^ Rev. Herman J. Hahn, of Buffalo, ran also for Lieutenant Governor in 1928 and 1936
  5. ^ O. Martin Olson, of Jamestown, ran also for Comptroller in 1934
  6. ^ to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Royal S. Copeland
  7. ^ Jeremiah D. Crowley, of Marcellus, ran also for State Engineer in 1910; for Lieutenant Governor in 1912, 1914 and 1920; for Governor in 1916, 1922, 1926 and 1930; for the U.S. Senate in 1932; and for Congress at-large in 1934
  8. ^ Edna Mitchell Blue, wife of Lewi Tonks, ran also in 1938


  1. ^ DEWEY NOMINATED BY REPUBLICANS in NYT on September 30, 1938 (subscription required)
  2. ^ LEHMAN IS DRAFTED FOR FOURTH TERM in NYT on October 1, 1938 (subscription required)
  3. ^ SOCIALISTS ASSAIL 'DEALS' BY LABOR; ...THOMAS IS NOMINATED in NYT on October 2, 1938 (subscription required)
  4. ^ LABORITES NAME LEHMAN WAGNER in NYT on October 4, 1938 (subscription required)
  5. ^ LABOR NAMES MEAD AS SESSIONS CLOSE; Convention Also Nominates Post, O'Leary, Mrs. O'Day and Merritt to Fill Ticket in NYT on October 5, 1938 (subscription required)
  6. ^ MAJOR PARTIES GET 2D LINES ON BALLOT in NYT on October 12, 1938 (subscription required)
  7. ^ INDUSTRIAL PARTY LISTS CANDIDATES in NYT on November 6, 1938 (subscription required)


New York Red Book

See also[edit]