1883 United States Senate election in Massachusetts

The 1883 United States Senate election in Massachusetts was held in January 1883. Incumbent Republican Senator George Frisbie Hoar was re-elected to a second term in office despite a serious challenge from Democrats and members of his own party.

1883 United States Senate election in Massachusetts
← 1877 January 16–18, 1883 1889 →

Majority of legislature needed to win
  George Frisbie Hoar - Brady-Handy.jpg 3x4.svg John Davis Long.jpg
Nominee George Frisbie Hoar Samuel W. Bowerman John Davis Long
Party Republican Democratic Republican
Electoral vote 148 88 38
Percentage 54.61% 32.47% 14.02%

Senator before election

George Frisbie Hoar
Republican

Elected Senator

George Frisbie Hoar
Republican

At the time, Massachusetts elected United States Senators by a resolution of the Massachusetts General Court.

BackgroundEdit

State legislatureEdit

At the time, the Massachusetts legislature was controlled by the Republican Party, as it had been since that party's founding. However, 1883 was the high point of the Massachusetts Democratic Party in the latter half of the 19th century. The upcoming Senate election was a dominant issue in the 1882 legislature elections.[1]

The Senate was composed of 22 Republicans and 18 Democrats,[2] and the House had 151 Republicans, 84 Democrats, and 5 independents.[3] Unless the Republicans could emerge unanimously in favor of one candidate, it was possible for the Democratic Party to choose the winner from among the Republican candidates.

Anti-Hoar sentimentEdit

Incumbent George F. Hoar, who was elected in 1877 after a protracted four-day struggle, faced strong opposition from within the Republican Party. The anti-Hoar faction cited his icy and aloof demeanor, which had allegedly cost him any chance at influence in the Senate.[4]

Harvard President Charles William Eliot was among those who called for Hoar's defeat.[5]

Newly-elected Democratic Governor Benjamin F. Butler, a former Republican, was also a bitter rival of Hoar, decreasing the chances that he could rely on Democratic votes. The Democratic party, now at its apex, also may have looked to defeat Hoar to weaken the unity of the Republicans in the long term.[6] However, Governor Butler's inaugural address may have inflamed partisan tensions, leading many Republicans to return to Hoar's side.[7]

Edmunds speechEdit

Before the election, Hoar made a speech in which he excoriated his Republican Senate colleague George F. Edmunds for missing a minor vote; Edmunds had been at the deathbed of his teenage daughter and just returned from her funeral. Edmunds rose in response and choking back tears said, "The Senator knows I was not present at the session." Hoar attempted to apologize, but his speech was widely criticized in the Democratic press.[8][9][10]

CandidatesEdit

DeclaredEdit

The chief names offered by anti-Hoar faction were William W. Crapo[4][11] and outgoing Governor John Davis Long, a candidate more friendly to the Butler Democrats and the younger "progressive" element in the Republican Party, including Henry Cabot Lodge and Oliver Ames.[12][13][1] Any candidate faced the difficult task of uniting the disparate elements of the anti-Hoar faction, which included Democrats, Butler Republicans, and anti-reform Stalwarts.[1]

PotentialEdit

The following candidates were mentioned as potential candidates or received votes, but did not openly declare their willingness or desire to be elected.

DeclinedEdit

ElectionEdit

Republican conference (January 10)Edit

There was some effort made by Long supporters to call for a binding caucus of the Republican legislators, but this effort was defeated at an informal conference. Speeches at the conference expressed favor for Senator Hoar.[15][16]

January 16Edit

On the first day, balloting in the Senate dominated.

First, second, and third State Senate ballots[17]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican George Frisbie Hoar (inc.) 16 41.02%
Democratic Samuel W. Bowerman 15 38.46%
Republican John Davis Long 6 15.38%
Republican William W. Crapo 2 5.13%
Total votes 39 100.00%
Fourth State Senate ballot[17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican George Frisbie Hoar (inc.) 16 41.02%  
Democratic Samuel W. Bowerman 12 30.77%  3
Republican John Davis Long 9 23.08%  3
Republican William W. Crapo 2 5.13%  
Total votes 39 100.00%

On the fifth ballot, Democrats abandoned Bowerman in favor of Long, giving him victory in the Senate.

Fifth State Senate ballot[17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican John Davis Long 21 53.85%  12
Republican George Frisbie Hoar (inc.) 16 41.02%  
Republican William W. Crapo 2 5.13%  
Total votes 39 100.00%

In the House, a single ballot was taken, showing Hoar with a lead but 11 votes short of a majority.

First State House ballot[17]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican George Frisbie Hoar (inc.) 108 45.57%
Democratic Samuel W. Bowerman 82 34.60%
Republican John Davis Long 29 12.24%
Republican William W. Crapo 10 4.22%
Democratic Benjamin F. Butler 2 0.84%
Republican Ambrose Ranney 2 0.84%
Republican George D. Robinson 2 0.84%
Republican Charles Francis Adams, Jr. 1 0.42%
Democratic Edward Atkinson 1 0.42%
Total votes 237 100.00%

January 17Edit

On the second day, the two houses met in a joint convention. No candidates achieved a majority, but Hoar and Long each gained.

First joint ballot[18]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican George Frisbie Hoar (inc.) 129 46.74%  5
Democratic Samuel W. Bowerman 90 32.61%  8
Republican John Davis Long 41 14.86%  9
Republican William W. Crapo 11 3.99%  1
Scattering Others 5 1.81%  5
Total votes 276 100.00%
Second joint ballot[17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican George Frisbie Hoar (inc.) 131 46.74%  2
Democratic Samuel W. Bowerman 81 29.35%  9
Republican John Davis Long 49 17.75%  8
Republican William W. Crapo 12 4.35%  1
Scattering Others 3 1.09%  2
Total votes 276 100.00%

After the second ballot, a motion for a third ballot was defeated by the Hoar faction 128–119. The Long supporters claimed that a third ballot would have given their man the victory.[18]

January 18Edit

Third joint ballot[19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican George Frisbie Hoar (inc.) 148 54.61%  17
Democratic Samuel W. Bowerman 88 32.47%  7
Republican John Davis Long 38 14.02%  11
Republican William W. Crapo 3 1.11%  9
Total votes 271 100.00%

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Aspirants in Massachusetts: Hoar Leading, Long Second, and Crapo Held in Reserve". New York Times. 11 Jan 1883. p. 3.
  2. ^ "Composition of the Massachusetts State Senate", Resources on Massachusetts Political Figures in the State Library, Mass.gov, archived from the original on June 6, 2020
  3. ^ "Composition of the State of Massachusetts House of Representatives", Resources on Massachusetts Political Figures in the State Library, Mass.gov, archived from the original on June 6, 2020
  4. ^ a b c The Baltimore Sun. 2 Jan 1883. p. 2. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "The Trouble With Senator Hoar". Boston Daily Globe. 4 Jan 1883. p. 2.
  6. ^ "The Butler-Democratic Plot". The New York Tribune. 5 Jan 1883. p. 5.
  7. ^ "Political News". New York Tribune. 9 Jan 1883. p. 4.
  8. ^ "A Rancourous Senator". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 9 Jan 1883. p. 4.
  9. ^ "Mr. Hoar's Smartness". Boston Daily Globe. 10 Jan 1883. p. 2.
  10. ^ "Hoar's Brutality". The Atlanta Constitution. 10 Jan 1883. p. 1.
  11. ^ "Notes and Comments". Detroit Free Press. 3 Jan 1883. p. 4.
  12. ^ "Gath: The Eastern Nag Said to Be Slightly Ahead". The Cincinnati Enquirer. 8 Jan 1883. p. 1.
  13. ^ "Seeking Senate Honors: Aspirants for the Office in Ten States". New York Times. 11 Jan 1883. p. 3.
  14. ^ "A Lie to Help Hoar". Boston Daily Globe. 12 Jan 1883. p. 2.
  15. ^ "Informal Senatorial Conference in Massachusetts". Chicago Daily Tribune. 11 Jan 1883. p. 2.
  16. ^ "The Massachusetts Senatorship". Hartford Daily Courant. 12 Jan 1883. p. 2.
  17. ^ a b c d e "The Senatorial Strife: Hoar and Long Still Struggling for Victory".
  18. ^ a b "For Senatorial Honors". New York Times. 18 Jan 1883. p. 1.
  19. ^ "Hoar the Choice". Boston Daily Globe. 19 Jan 1883. p. 1.