1924 Indiana gubernatorial election

The 1924 Indiana gubernatorial election took place on November 4, 1924 under the provisions of the Constitution of Indiana. It was the 31st gubernatorial election in the State of Indiana. Republican Edward L. Jackson defeated Democrat Carleton B. McCulloch. The election took place concurrently with the 1924 United States elections that saw Republicans hold the White House and increase their majorities in both houses of Congress.

1924 Indiana gubernatorial election

← 1920 November 4, 1924 1928 →
 
Nominee Edward L. Jackson Carleton B. McCulloch
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 654,184 572,303
Percentage 52.9% 46.3%

County results
Jackson:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%
McCulloch:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%

Governor before election

Emmett Forest Branch
Republican

Elected Governor

Edward L. Jackson
Republican

Warren T. McCray defeated McCulloch in the 1920 election. His tenure was marked by conflict with the Indiana Ku Klux Klan and Grand Dragon D. C. Stephenson, who grew the organization to be the largest voluntary association in the state by 1924. At Stephenson's behest, Jackson offered McCray a $10,000 bribe to appoint certain Klansmen to state offices. When McCray refused, the Klan exposed his corrupt business dealings. McCray was convicted of mail fraud and resigned the governorship on April 30, 1924, days before the Republican primary election in which he was not a candidate.[1]

Emmett Forest Branch, who succeeded McCray upon his resignation, did not run for re-election. Jackson was the frontrunner to receive the Republican nomination and had the support of Stephenson the Indiana Klan. His main opponent was Lewis Shank, the outgoing mayor of Indianapolis and one of the Klan's most outspoken Republican critics.[2] Jackson defeated Shank by a margin of more than two to one; the Klan celebrated his victory with a parade through downtown Indianapolis that drew as many as 100,000 onlookers.[3] Democrats were divided in their response to the Klan's rising influence. One faction led by state chairman Thomas Taggart sought to maintain a neutral position on the Klan, while Irish Catholics vocally and strenuously denounced the Klan's activities. McCulloch kept a studied silence through the primary campaign and finished with the most votes for any candidate, but less than the majority requisite for nomination. In the aftermath of the primary, McCulloch declared his opposition to the Klan. He was formally nominated by the Democratic State Convention on a platform condemning the Klan's divisive tactics in targeting racial, ethnic, and religious minorities.[4]

Discussion of the Klan dominated the fall campaign. In a break with tradition, African Americans overwhelmingly supported the Democratic ticket.[5] Stephenson and the Klan worked tirelessly on behalf of the state and national Republican candidates, alleging that a Democratic victory would usher in a Catholic theocracy and the end of white supremacy. Jackson campaigned on law and order, anti-corruption, and support for Prohibition, the last policy being strongly associated with Anti-Catholicism and nativism. Despite the mass defection of historically Republican Black voters, Jackson won the election, albeit with less than the majority for McCray in 1920, amidst a statewide sweep for the Klan's candidates. Jackson carried northern and central Indiana, including White and Hamilton counties where the Klan was strongest, while McCulloch performed well in traditionally Democratic southern Indiana and carried Allen County, home to the University of Notre Dame.

Primary elections

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Primary elections were held on May 6, 1924.[6]

Republican primary

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Candidates

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Results

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Republican primary results[6]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Edward L. Jackson 227,785 55.12
Republican Samuel Lewis Shank 95,494 23.11
Republican Edward C. Toner 55,381 13.40
Republican Edgar D. Bush 22,531 5.45
Republican Ora D. Davis 9,210 2.23
Republican Elias W. Dulberger 2,821 0.68
Total votes 413,222 100.00

General election

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Candidates

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Major party candidates

  • Edward L. Jackson, Republican
  • Carleton B. McCulloch, Democratic

Other candidates

  • Francis M. Wampler, Socialist
  • Basil L. Allen, Prohibition

Results

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1924 Indiana gubernatorial election[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Edward L. Jackson 654,184 52.92%
Democratic Carleton B. McCulloch 572,303 46.29%
Socialist Francis M. Wampler 5,984 0.48%
Prohibition Basil L. Allen 3,808 0.31%
Majority 81,881
Turnout
Republican hold Swing

References

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  1. ^ Madison, James H. (2020). The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 117. ISBN 9780253052209.
  2. ^ Moore, Leonard J. (1991). Citizen Klansmen: The Ku Klux Klan in Indiana, 1921-1928. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina. p. 153. ISBN 0-8078-1981-6.
  3. ^ Madison, 117.
  4. ^ Moore, 158-59.
  5. ^ Griffin, William W. (June 1983). "The Political Realignment of Black Voters in Indianapolis, 1924". Indiana Magazine of History. 79 (2): 158. JSTOR 27790698.
  6. ^ a b Guide to U.S. elections - CQ Press, Congressional Quarterly, inc. CQ Press. 2005. ISBN 9781568029818. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  7. ^ Kalb, Deborah (December 24, 2015). Guide to U.S. Elections. CQ Press. ISBN 9781483380353. Retrieved August 9, 2020.