1913 United States Senate elections in Illinois

Two United States Senate elections (a regular and a special election) were held in Illinois on March 26, 1913. The two elections were interconnected through a compromise made to elect a Democrat in the regular election and a Republican in the special election.

1913 United States Senate elections in Illinois
March 26, 1913

These were the last elections to U.S. Senate from Illinois to take place by vote of state legislature, as the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution would make all subsequent U.S. Senate elections conducted by a popular vote.

The elections saw the election of Democrat J. Hamilton Lewis to a full term in the state's class 2 United States Senate seat in a regular election, and Republican Lawrence Y. Sherman to the state's class 3 United States Senate seat in a special election.

Background and procedureEdit

At the time, since the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was yet to take effect, U.S. Senate seats were filled by votes of state legislatures.

In the November 1912 state elections, the Republicans lost control of the Illinois General Assembly due to the Republican / Progressive split.[citation needed] But while the Democrats held a plurality of the Illinois General Assembly, they did not have a majority. The General Assembly took up the matter of electing the senators on February 1.[citation needed] The General Assembly therefore failed to elect until after the new congress began.

On March 26, in a compromise arranged by governor Dunne, the General Assembly elected Democrat J. Hamilton Lewis to fill the full-term seat and Republican Lawrence Y. Sherman to fill the two remaining years of a vacancy that had just recently opened. This broke a deadlock on the matter that had been in place since February 11.[1]

Party primariesEdit

Non-binding preference primaries were held April 9, 1912, which informed the legislature of the preferred candidate of the voters that participated in each party's primaries. They coincided with binding primaries held for other offices.[2]

While the party was eligible to hold a primary, no Socialist primary was held for the office of U.S. Senator.[2]

Democratic primaryEdit



Democratic primary[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic J. Hamilton Lewis 228,872 100
Total votes 228,872 100

Republican primaryEdit



Republican primary[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Lawrence Y. Sherman 178,063 46.16
Republican Shelby Moore Cullom 129,375 33.54
Republican Hugh S. Magill 78,344 20.31
Total votes 385,782 100

Prohibition primaryEdit



Prohibiton primary[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Prohibition Alonzo E. Wilson 3,786 100
Total votes 3,786 100

Regular election (class 2 seat)Edit

Illinois general election (class 2)
← 1907 March 26, 1913 1918 →
Nominee J. Hamilton Lewis Frank H. Funk
Party Democratic Progressive
Members' vote 164 22
Percentage 80.39% 10.78%

U.S. senator before election

Shelby Moore Cullom

Elected U.S. senator

J. Hamilton Lewis

On April 12, 1912, five-term Republican incumbent Shelby Moore Cullom lost renomination to Lieutenant Governor of Illinois Lawrence Y. Sherman in the Republican "advisory" primary, where the voters expressed their preference for senator but the decision was not binding on the General Assembly, which made the actual choice. Cullom had suffered politically over his support for the other Illinois senator, William Lorimer, who was embroiled in a scandal over alleged bribery in his 1909 election to the Senate. After his defeat, Cullom withdrew his name from consideration by the General Assembly.[citation needed]

The Illinois General Assembly eventually elected the Democratic nominee, Congressman J. Hamilton Lewis March 26, 1913, who had previously won the Democratic advisory primary as the sole candidate on the ballot. Before their conclusive March 26 vote, after a compromise was stricken, the Illinois legislature had twelve-times cast deadlocked ballots for the class 2 senate seat.[5]

Illinois legislative vote, class 2 (March 26, 1913)[1][6]
Party Candidate Votes %
State Senate State House Total votes
Democratic J. Hamilton Lewis 45 119 164 82.41
Progressive Frank H. Funk 2 20 22 11.06
Republican Lawrence Y. Sherman 0 9 9 4.52
Socialist Bernard Berlyn 0 4 4 2.01
Democratic gain from Republican

Special election (class 3 seat)Edit

Illinois special election (class 3)
← 1909 March 26, 1913 1914 →
Nominee Lawrence Y. Sherman[7] Charles Boeschenstein
Party Republican Democratic
Members' vote 143 25
Percentage 70.10% 12.26%

Nominee Frank H. Funk
Party Progressive
Members' vote 22
Percentage 10.78%

U.S. senator before election


Elected U.S. senator

Lawrence Y. Sherman

In July 1912, the U.S. Senate invalidated William Lorimer's 1909 election and declared the seat vacant.[8] The Illinois Attorney General, William H. Stead determined that the General Assembly had failed to properly elect Lorimer in 1909 and so the Governor could not appoint a replacement.[9] As a result, the General Assembly had a second Senate seat to fill.

Lawrence Y. Sherman, who had won the Republican advisory primary for Illinois’ regular senate election, was elected in the special election.

Illinois special legislative vote, class 3 (March 26, 1913)[10][6]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Lawrence Y. Sherman 143 73.33%
Democratic Charles Boeschenstein 25 12.82%
Progressive Frank H. Funk 22 11.28%
Socialist McDonald 4 2.05%
Democratic John Fitzpatrick 1 0.51%
Republican gain from Vacant

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "ILLINOIS PICKS AS SENATORS, LEWIS AND L.Y. SHERMAN". Newspapers.com. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 26 Mar 1913. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e Illinois blue book, 1913-1914. Illinois Secretary of State. p. 460. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  3. ^ "Our Campaigns - Candidate - Hugh S. Magill". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  4. ^ Illinois Blue Book 1905-1906. p. 372. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  5. ^ "LEWIS SHY NINE VOTES OF ELECTION". Newspapers.com. Woodford County Journal. 27 Mar 1913. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  6. ^ a b United States Senators Chosen, 1913, p. 458.
  7. ^ Taylor, Julius F. "The Broad Ax". Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  8. ^ "Lorimer ousted by decisive vote". The New York Times. July 14, 1912.
  9. ^ "Lorimer never elected". The New York Times. July 18, 1912.
  10. ^ "IL US Senate Special". Our Campaigns. Retrieved March 27, 2020.