1909 Los Angeles mayoral special election

The 1909 Los Angeles mayoral special election took place on March 26, 1909, following the recall attempt of incumbent Arthur Cyprian Harper.[1] George Alexander was elected over Fred C. Wheeler by a small plurality.[2] It was the first election "ever held in any American city for the recall of a mayor."[3] It was also the first election held after the charter amendment that instituted nonpartisan elections and made the office of Mayor nonpartisan.[4]

1909 Los Angeles mayoral special election
← 1906 March 26, 1909 (1909-03-26) November 1909 →
Candidate George Alexander Fred C. Wheeler
Popular vote 14,043 12,341
Percentage 53.23% 46.77%

Mayor before election

William D. Stephens

Elected Mayor

George Alexander


Facing a recall election, incumbent Democratic mayor Arthur Cyprian Harper was forced to resign due to dishonesty that marked his administration. Because of his resignation, Republican politician William Stephens, who had been picked as Harper's opponent, was named acting mayor of Los Angeles while campaigning was going on, which lasted less than two weeks.[5]

Two candidates participated, Republican candidate George Alexander and Socialist politician Fred C. Wheeler. Wheeler had been denied ballot access because his candidacy had allegedly not followed regulations of the city before the ruling was overturned by a judicial appeal.[6][7]

Wheeler lost to George Alexander by a small plurality of 1,650 votes, with the Associated Press reporting that the vote for Wheeler was a "great surprise".[8][9] Alexander filled the unexpired term of Harper, which lasted until November 1909.


Los Angeles mayoral recall election, March 26, 1909[10]
Candidate Votes %
George Alexander 14,043 53.23
Fred C. Wheeler 12,341 46.78
Total votes 26,384 100.00

References and footnotes

  1. ^ "Election Results to Be Known Early", Los Angeles Herald, March 26, 1909, image 5.
  2. ^ "Los Angeles Elects Reform Mayor", Tonopah (Nevada) Bonanza, March 27, 1909, image 1.
  3. ^ "Los Angeles In Quandary", Des Moines Evening Tribune, March 15, 1909, image 3.
  5. ^ "Mayor Harper Resigns from Office Under Threats". Los Angeles Examiner. March 12, 1909. Archived from the original on June 10, 2007. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
  6. ^ "Socialists' Choice for Mayor of the City", Los Angeles Herald, February 26, 1909, image 5.
  7. ^ "Socialist Candidate: Case Under Advisement", Los Angeles Times, March 2, 1909, image 16.
  8. ^ "27 Mar 1909, Page 1 - San Francisco Chronicle at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  9. ^ "He has figured in politics before, making a fine run during the last mayoralty campaign in Los Angeles." "Socialists Talk to a Big Crowd", Bakersfield Californian, October 17, 1910, image 4.
  10. ^ "Los Angeles Mayor". Our Campaigns.

External links