Setting the Record Straight
By Henry J. Stern
September 25, 2009
Rule 18-R-2: "When it rains, it pours."
No sooner did we, at great length, distinguish Calvary from the cavalry, when we stumbled again into a garbled paragraph on gubernatorial succession in New York State. It deals with matters of fact with which we are totally familiar.
We want to correct the errors immediately, so no one will be confused over the weekend. We begin eighty-one years ago during Prohibition.
THE LAST TEN GOVERNORS
Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected Governor of New York State in 1928, succeeding Alfred E. Smith, who ran unsuccessfully for President against Herbert Hoover.
Herbert H. Lehman was elected Governor in 1932, succeeding FDR, who ran successfully for President against Hoover. Lehman had been Lieutenant Governor under Roosevelt.
Thomas E. Dewey was elected Governor in 1942, serving three four-year terms which ended in 1954. While Governor, he ran for President twice, losing to FDR in 1944 and Harry S. Truman in 1948. Dewey had previously sought the Presidency in 1940, when he was District Attorney of New York County (before Hogan and Morgenthau). He lost at the Republican convention to Wendell Willkie, who in November lost to FDR.
W. Averell Harriman was elected Governor in 1954, narrowly defeating Republican Senator Irving M. Ives. Harriman ran for President in 1956, losing the Democratic nomination to Adlai E. Stevenson.
Nelson A. Rockefeller was elected Governor in 1958, 62, 66, and 70, successively defeating Harriman, Frank D. O’Connor, Howard J. Samuels and former Justice Arthur J. Goldberg. Rockefeller resigned in December 1973, ostensibly to give his deputy a chance to lead the state.
Malcolm Wilson, who had been Lieutenant Governor, completed Rockefeller’s unexpired term. He was defeated for a full term in 1974 by Hugh L. Carey, who was elected in 1974, and re-elected in 1978. He declined to run in 1982. Carey had been a Congressman from Brooklyn since 1961.
Mario M. Cuomo, elected in 1982, re-elected in 1986 and 1990, had been Secretary of State (NY) and Lieutenant Governor under Carey. Cuomo was defeated when he sought a fourth term.
George E. Pataki, elected in 1994, re-elected in 1998 and 2002. He did not run in 2006, and sought the Presidency briefly in 2008.
Eliot L. Spitzer, elected in 2006; resigned effective March 17, 2008. You know why.
David A. Paterson, who had been Lieutenant Governor, succeeded Spitzer. His term will expire on December 31, 2010.
HISTORICAL PARAGRAPH EXPANDED
Following is a corrected version of a paragraph we sent out earlier this afternoon. Please disregard the original version.
“Lehman was not the only governor to leave before his term was up. Nelson A. Rockefeller, elected governor four times, resigned in December 1973, to give his Lieutenant Governor of fifteen years, Malcolm Wilson, a year in office before facing the voters in November 1974. Wilson served the year, but lost to Hugh Carey.
“Averell Harriman was elected governor in 1954. He won the Democratic nomination through the efforts of Carmine DeSapio, defeating Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., a Congressman from Manhattan who had won a special election in 1949 as a Liberal and independent candidate. Roosevelt was shoved into a race for State Attorney General, in which he was defeated by Congressman Jacob K. Javits, a Republican who was subsequently elected to the United States Senate.
DeSapio’s rejection of Roosevelt’s candidacy earned him the undying enmity of the candidate’s mother, Eleanor Roosevelt, who helped to lead a reform movement which led to DeSapio’s loss in his Greenwich Village district. The 38-year-old Ed Koch defeated DeSapio in 1963 by 41 votes, although DeSapio had previously lost to another candidate who ran on Mayor Wagner’s coat-tails in 1961, but did not seek re-election.
StarQuest #600-A 09.25.2009 604wds