|Elections in Pennsylvania|
Philadelphia's municipal election of November 3, 1959 involved contests for mayor, all seventeen city council seats, and several other executive and judicial offices. Citywide, the Democrats took majorities of over 200,000 votes, continuing their success from the elections four years earlier. Richardson Dilworth, who had been elected mayor in 1955, was re-elected over Republican nominee Harold Stassen. The Democrats also took fifteen of seventeen city council seats, the most seats allowed to any one party under the 1951 city charter. They further kept control of the other citywide offices. The election represented a continued consolidation of control by the Democrats after their citywide victories of the previous eight years.
After taking control of the city government in 1951, Democrats consolidated their majorities with further success in 1955 and 1957. They hoped to continue the victories made possible by the continuing coalition of reform-minded independents and the Democratic organization led by Democratic City Committee chairman William J. Green, Jr., but tension between the two groups had begun to increase by 1959 as more of the jobs and elected offices went to organization men, with reformers being increasingly marginalized.The Republican organization had largely collapsed after the 1955 defeat, but looked to rebuild and consolidate under the leadership of former sheriff Austin Meehan. However, as political scientist Robert Freedman wrote several years later, "there was not much left to consolidate." The Philadelphia Inquirer noted the dire condition of the Republicans while predicting a major Democratic victory: "the Republican organization has been on the border of collapse during the last few years and it is probable that it will not man a number of polling places on Election Day."
Ward-level results in the mayor's race, with Dilworth in blue and Stassen in red
In the mayor's race, incumbent Democrat Richardson Dilworth ran for reelection against Republican Harold Stassen.After service in World War I and a law degree from Yale, Dilworth practiced law in Philadelphia. He and Joseph S. Clark, Jr., were allies in the anti-corruption reform effort that had swept the city eight years earlier in coalition with the Democratic political organization. Dilworth had run for mayor unsuccessfully in 1947, with Clark as his campaign manager. In 1949, he was elected City Treasurer. He resigned that post to run for governor in 1950, but was defeated by Republican John S. Fine. Democratic party leaders had intended Dilworth to be their candidate for mayor again in 1951, but when Clark announced his candidacy, Dilworth agreed to run for district attorney instead, and won. In 1955, Dilworth got his shot at the mayor's office when Clark instead ran for the Senate; he was elected with 59% of the vote. Four years later, he was renominated without opposition.
The Republicans nominated Harold Stassen. In 1938, Stassen was elected Governor of Minnesota at the age of thirty-one.He became known as an efficient, honest, and moderately liberal governor, and was reelected in 1940 and 1942. Stassen resigned as governor shortly after his 1942 reelection to serve in World War II. He made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for president in 1948; later that year, he was appointed president of the University of Pennsylvania. After four years, he left that position to work in the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration as a special assistant for nuclear disarmament efforts. In 1958, he sought the nomination for Governor of Pennsylvania, but was unsuccessful.
As the 1959 election approached, Republican City Committee leaders Wilbur H. Hamilton and Austin Meehan backed Stassen for their party's nomination.Triumphing over token opposition in the May primary, Stassen pledged to cut taxes and promised to run a "fusion campaign," inviting the support of Democrats dissatisfied with Dilworth's administration. Dilworth called for more spending, especially on streets, highways, and public housing, and admitted that increased taxation was likely the price of those improvements.
As in 1955, the result was a landslide for Dilworth.Dilworth called the victory "greater than we had anticipated" and said the scale of the landslide "puts us on a spot. We really have to deliver during the next four years." Stassen said he would return to his law practice and promised to continue to build the Republican Party in Philadelphia. Dilworth secured nearly two-thirds of the vote and fifty-eight out of fifty-nine wards, continuing a trend of Democratic dominance in the city's politics.
|Democratic||Richardson Dilworth (incumbent)||438,237||65.34||+6.04|
|Socialist Labor||George S. Taylor||2,536||0.38||+0.38|
Philadelphians elected a seventeen-member city council in 1959, with ten members representing districts of the city, and the remaining seven being elected at-large. For the at-large seats, each political party could nominate five candidates, and voters could only vote for five, with the result being that the majority party could only take five of the seven seats, leaving two for the minority party. The Democrats' citywide dominance continued into the city council races, as took control of all ten of the district seats, up from nine in the previous election. They also retained five of seven at-large seats.
In the at-large races, four incumbent Democratic candidates, Victor E. Moore, Paul D'Ortona, Marshall L. Shepard, and Leon Kolankiewicz, were re-elected. A fifth Democrat, state legislator Mary Varallo, was elected to the seat vacated by Henry W. Sawyer when he declined to run for re-election.On the Republican side, at-large councilman Louis Schwartz retired and was replaced by Virginia Knauer. Incumbent Thomas M. Foglietta, a lawyer and son of former councilman Michael Foglietta, was re-elected. Losing bids for the Republican at-large seats were attorneys Emil F. Goldhaber and William S. Rawls, and Baptist minister Clarence M. Smith.
At the district level, Democratic incumbents Emanuel Weinberg (district 1), Gaetano Giordano (district 2), Harry Norwitch (district 3), Samuel Rose (district 4), Michael J. Towey (district 6), James Hugh Joseph Tate (district 7), Henry P. Carr (district 9), and John M. McDevitt (district 10) were all reelected. In the 5th district, Raymond Pace Alexander chose not to run for re-election and fellow Democrat Thomas McIntosh took his place. In the 8th, the Republicans lost their only district-level seat when Wilbur H. Hamilton narrowly lost out to Democrat Alfred Leopold Luongo.
|Democratic||Paul D'Ortona (incumbent)||426,548||12.97||+0.96|
|Democratic||Victor E. Moore (incumbent)||425,753||12.96||+0.95|
|Democratic||Leon Kolankiewicz (incumbent)||422,314||12.86||–|
|Democratic||Marshall L. Shepard (incumbent)||420,077||12.79||+0.90|
|Republican||Thomas M. Foglietta (incumbent)||240,271||7.32||-0.83|
|Republican||Emil F. Goldhaber||233,871||7.12||–|
|Republican||William S. Rawls||229,719||6.99||–|
|Republican||Clarence M. Smith||227,972||6.94||–|
|Socialist Labor||Harry Wade||3,012||0.09||–|
|Democratic||Emanuel Weinberg (incumbent)||42,907||66.35||+3.98|
|Republican||Nunzio Carto, Jr.||21,756||33.65||-1.26|
|Democratic||Gaetano Giordano (incumbent)||38,601||64.93||+6.18|
|Republican||Arthur W. Binns||20,849||35.07||-6.18|
|Democratic||Harry Norwitch (incumbent)||39,686||64.38||+4.79|
|Democratic||Samuel Rose (incumbent)||42,711||73.59||+5.01|
|Civic||Henry C. James||188||0.42||+0.42|
|Democratic||Michael J. Towey (incumbent)||41,328||60.32||+3.53|
|Republican||Stanley M. Bednarik||27,179||39.68||-3.53|
|Democratic||James Hugh Joseph Tate (incumbent)||43,965||66.88||+4.37|
|Republican||George W. Hufnagel||21,769||33.12||-4.37|
|Democratic||Alfred Leopold Luongo||29,107||53.25||+4.06|
|Republican||Wilbur H. Hamilton||25,551||46.75||-3.20|
|Democratic||Henry P. Carr (incumbent)||50,865||66.82||+5.79|
|Republican||Eugene K. Mansdoerfer||25,254||33.18||-5.79|
|Democratic||John M. McDevitt (incumbent)||63,424||58.52||+3.98|
|Republican||Francis P. McCusker||44,951||41.48||-3.98|
In the race for city commissioners, each party nominated two candidates and the top three were elected. The office was a county office, a holdover from the time before consolidation of the townships in Philadelphia County into one city. The most important of the remaining duties of the commissioners in Philadelphia was the conduct of the city's elections; they also had responsibility for regulating weights and measures.The Democrats' success continued in those races, with incumbent commissioners Maurice S. Osser and Thomas P. McHenry being easily reelected. For the third seat, reserved for the minority party, Republican former city councilman Louis Menna edged out the incumbent Republican commissioner, Walter I. Davidson.
|Democratic||Thomas P. McHenry (incumbent)||422,998||32.20||+2.34|
|Democratic||Maurice S. Osser||421,476||32.08||+2.22|
|Republican||Walter I. Davidson||231,622||17.63||-2.55|
|Socialist Labor||Mary Gesensway||1,684||0.13||+0.13|
Democrat William M. Lennox was reelected county sheriff, his third consecutive term. Louis Amarando, also a Democrat, was reelected clerk of the court of quarter sessions (a court whose jurisdiction was later transferred to the court of common pleas).In the special election for Register of Wills that followed the previous officeholder's appointment as a judge, Democrat John F. Walsh, Jr. easily defeated Republican Jay H. Rosenfeld (Walsh had been appointed in 1959 to fill the vacancy).
The Democrats also took six of the ten magisterial district judge positions up for election that year (a local court, the duties of which have since been superseded by the Philadelphia Municipal Court) with former state representative Ralph M. Dennis leading the list.The ballot contained two referendums authorizing the city to take loans for construction of building repairs, streets, sewers, and other civic improvements. They passed with overwhelming support, tallying 70% and 72% affirmative votes.
|Democratic||William M. Lennox (incumbent)||426,620||64.72||+4.91|
|Republican||Jerome A. O'Neill||232,558||35.28||-4.91|
|Democratic||Louis Amarando (incumbent)||430,056||64.80||+6.81|
|Republican||Barbara Ann Duffy||233,649||35.20||-6.81|
|Democratic||John E. Walsh, Jr.||429,466||65.05||+7.26|
|Republican||Jay H. Rosenfeld||230,783||34.95||-7.26|
Constance Hopkins Snow Dallas was an American politician. A member of the Democratic Party, she served on the Philadelphia City Council as a representative of the city's 8th district. Born in New York and educated in Europe, Dallas came to Philadelphia as a teenager. After marriage and raising children, she entered local politics as a reform-minded Democrat. Following an unsuccessful run for City Council in 1947, she was elected in 1951, the first woman to serve in that legislative body.
Harry Norwitch was an organized labor leader and Democratic politician from Philadelphia.
Philadelphia's municipal election held on November 6, 1951, was the first under the city's new charter, which had been approved by the voters in April, and the first Democratic victory in the city in more than a half-century. The positions contested were those of mayor and district attorney, and all seventeen city council seats. There was also a referendum on whether to consolidate the city and county governments. Citywide, the Democrats took majorities of over 100,000 votes, breaking a 67-year Republican hold on city government. Joseph S. Clark Jr. and Richardson Dilworth, two of the main movers for the charter reform, were elected mayor and district attorney, respectively. Led by local party chairman James A. Finnegan, the Democrats also took fourteen of seventeen city council seats, and all of the citywide offices on the ballot. A referendum on city-county consolidation passed by a wide margin. The election marked the beginning of Democratic dominance of Philadelphia city politics, which continues today.
Philadelphia's municipal election of November 8, 1955, involved contests for mayor, district attorney, all seventeen city council seats, among other offices. Citywide, the Democrats took majorities of over 130,000 votes, continuing their success from the elections four years earlier. Richardson Dilworth, who had been elected district attorney in 1951, was elected mayor. Victor H. Blanc, a city councilman, was elected district attorney. The Democrats also kept fourteen of seventeen city council seats, losing one district seat while gaining another, and kept control of the other citywide offices. The election represented a further consolidation of control by the Democrats after their citywide victories of four years earlier.
William Milton Phillips was a Republican businessman and politician from Philadelphia.
Michael John Towey was an organized labor leader and Democratic politician from Philadelphia.
Philadelphia's municipal election of November 3, 1953, was the second held under the city charter of 1951 and represented the first test of the Democratic city government of Mayor Joseph S. Clark Jr. In the 1951 election, the voters had elected a Democratic mayor for the first time in 67 years, breaking the Republican hold on political power in the city. They had also elected a majority-Democratic City Council along with Democrats for district attorney and other citywide offices. In 1953, the voters had the chance to continue the Democratic trend or to block it in the election for City Controller, Register of Wills, and various judges and magistrates. On election day, the Republican organization recovered from their 1951 losses, electing all their candidates citywide. Republicans celebrated the victory, but subsequent Democratic triumphs in the 1955 and 1959 elections made the 1953 result more of an aberration than a true comeback for the once-powerful Philadelphia Republican machine.
Emanuel Weinberg was a Democratic politician from Philadelphia who served two-and-a-half terms on Philadelphia City Council.
Philadelphia's municipal election of November 5, 1957, involved the election of the district attorney, city controller, and the remainder of a term for one city council seat, as well as several row offices and judgeships. Democrats were successful citywide, continuing a run of victories racked up after the passage of a new city charter in 1951 despite growing divisions between factions of the party. Victor H. Blanc, the incumbent district attorney, led the Democratic ticket to victory. They held the city council seat and took two citywide offices that Republicans had won in 1953. In the judges' elections, most were endorsed by both parties but in the one race that pitted a Democratic candidate against a Republican, the Democrats were successful in seating their candidate, former Congressman Earl Chudoff.
Maurice S. Osser was a Democratic politician from Philadelphia who served as City Commissioner.
Gaetano Paul "Tommy" Giordano, Sr. was a Philadelphia businessman who served three terms on the Philadelphia City Council as a Democrat.
Philadelphia's City Council special election of 1960 was held to fill two vacant city council seats. The first was in the 4th district, when Democrat Samuel Rose died in January 1960. A second vacancy that same year occurred in the 6th district when Democrat Michael J. Towey died suddenly in September 29. Special elections were scheduled for November 8, 1960, to be held at the same time as the national election that year. Both seats were easily held by the Democratic Party.
William Aloysius Dwyer Jr. was an American lawyer, judge, and Democratic politician from Philadelphia. He served on the Philadelphia City Council from 1960 to 1963 and on the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas from 1967 until his death in 1982.
Philadelphia's municipal election of November 7, 1961, involved the election of the district attorney, city controller, and several judgeships. Democrats swept all of the city races but saw their vote totals much reduced from those of four years earlier, owing to a growing graft scandal in city government. District Attorney James C. Crumlish, Jr. and City Controller Alexander Hemphill, both incumbents, were returned to office. Several ballot questions were also approved, including one permitting limited sales of alcohol on Sundays.
Alexander Hemphill was a Democratic lawyer and politician from Philadelphia who served as City Controller from 1958 to 1968. After service in World War II and graduation from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Hemphill embarked on a legal career before running for office. In his three terms as city controller, he exposed corruption and malfeasance, often to the discomfort of his fellow Democrats. He ran for mayor of Philadelphia in 1967 against the incumbent Democrat, James H. J. Tate, but was unsuccessful, and retired to a private law practice until his death in 1986.
Philadelphia's City Council special election of 1962 was held to fill three vacant city council seats. The first was in the 8th district, when Democrat Alfred Leopold Luongo was appointed to the federal bench in September 1961. A second vacancy that same year occurred in the 10th district when Democrat John M. McDevitt resigned in June 1962 to become a Catholic priest. An at-large seat also became vacant when Victor E. Moore resigned in September 1962 to become the head of the Philadelphia Gas Works. Special elections were scheduled for November 6, 1962, to be held at the same time as the federal and gubernatorial elections that year. Democrats held two of the seats but lost the 8th district to a Republican.
Mary Frascone Varallo was a Democratic politician from Philadelphia who served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Philadelphia City Council.
Philadelphia's municipal election of November 5, 1963, involved contests for mayor, all seventeen city council seats, and several other executive and judicial offices. The Democrats lost vote share citywide and the Republicans gained one seat in City Council, but the Democratic acting mayor, James Hugh Joseph Tate, was elected to a full term and his party maintained their hold on the city government. The election was the first decline in the Democrats' share of the vote since they took control of the city government in the 1951 elections, and showed the growing tension between the reformers and ward bosses within their party.
Austin Andrew Meehan, Sr., was a Republican politician in Philadelphia who served as county sheriff. Before entering politics, Meehan ran his family's paving business and was known as a local basketball star. Beginning as an insurgent within the city's Republican Party, he soon won the favor of party bosses and climbed the ranks of Philadelphia's Republican organization. Meehan served two terms as county sheriff from 1944 to 1952 and was recognized as the unofficial head of the Republican Party in Philadelphia in the 1950s. He remained an influential party member until his death in 1961.
Joseph John Hersch was a Democratic politician from Philadelphia who served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and as a city magistrate before being elected to the Philadelphia City Council.