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In 1912, four parties vied for power in Idaho and across the U. Nationally, the 1912 Republican presidential candidate was incumbent President William Howard Taft.He lost to Democrat Woodrow Wilson in an election in which former Republican President Theodore Roosevelt ran as the Progressive (“Bull Moose”) Party candidate and Eugene Debs made a serious presidential run on the Socialist Party ticket.Exactly 100 years ago, Idaho saw another exciting election year, marked by a statehouse financial scandal, divided political parties, the beginning of a major farm revolt and the election of Idaho’s first and, to date, only Jewish governor, Moses Alexander.Alexander was born in 1853 in Bavaria and emigrated to New York City in 1867, at the age of 13.Much of that increase had occurred in Southern Idaho, where settlers initiated 42 separate reclamation projects under the Carey Act of 1894.Other settlers homesteaded in the Payette-Boise and Minidoka reclamation project areas.
Idaho governors at that time served two-year terms.
Although the federal reclamation authorities shared much of the responsibility, the state government also came in for a large share of the blame. There were other candidates for governor in 1914 as well, notably Hugh E. Neither candidate would gain as many votes in 1914 as their parties’ candidates had received in 1912, in part because 1914 was not a presidential election year, and in part because excitement for third-party candidacies had simply worn off by 1914.
Mc Elroy, who ran on the Progressive Party ticket, and Socialist Party candidate L. Alexander campaigned hard on the theme of economy in state government, lower taxes and statewide alcohol prohibition, but Haines appeared to be leading well into October. On October 20, a front-page story in the Idaho Statesman reported that State Treasurer O. Allen and his chief deputy had resigned, that an audit of the treasurer’s books was under way and that Governor Haines had broken off his campaign to return to Boise.
In 1914, Haines again won the Republican nomination for governor.
Alexander had remained active in politics and was again the Idaho Democrats’ candidate for governor in 1914.