Feb 25, 1923
Several Run-Offs Impend as Result of Independent Candidates in Race; Only Contest Where Klan-Indorsed Candidate Gets High Vote Is Corporation Judge where Kroeckel and Berkshire Will Figure in Run Off.
By BOB CHAMPMAN
El Paso is not a Ku Klux Klan town. This was the word sent out by El Pasoans yesterday to the country after an election which resulted in a decisive victory for the opponents of the hooded organization.
R.M. Dudley won by 2,120 votes. He got 7,572 and P.E. Gardner got 5,452. There were 13,024 ballots cast according to unofficial but complete returns.
The voting yesterday was for or against the klan. This was the only issue involved. The result showed El Paso was whole-heartedly against such a secret organization.
State Senator R.M. Dudley, candidate for mayor, led his anti—klan ticket in the assault which resulted in a complete routing of the forces sailing under the banner of the Cyclops. P.E. Gardner, the klan-indorsed standard bearer, was subjected to beating at the hands of the senator which he probably will never forget. Mr. Gardner was willing and did concede his defeat as early as 8:30 o’clock last night. Reports coming in from the various voting precincts over the city early convinced the klansmen and their adherents that the fight was lost.
The importation in this respect was carried on in the hope that the foreign klansmen, in addition to rendering their local brothers some aid, would be on hand to rejoice with them in having captured El Paso, which was intended to be a stepping stone to the county offices.
The counting of the ballots had not been in progress many hours when Mr. Gardner was perfectly willing to retire.
Mr. Gardner only carried his home precinct, No. 18, by 50 votes. Senator Dudley carried his home town precinct by 143.
With the exception of W.K. Ramsey, one of the Dudley aldermanic candidates, who will have to run the race off with J.E. Ross, the klan indorsed candidate, unless a contrary agreement is reached. Senator Dudley and chairman and members of the executive committee, received the nomination for the respective offices for which they were candidates by overwhelming majorities. Alderman W.T. Griffith, candidate for re-election ran third, in the race for place No. 1.
Wyatt Beats McSain
One of the outstanding features of the election was the winning of John M. Wyatt over W.P.B. McSain. The latter was indorsed by the klan. Mr. Wyatt had repudiated the organization. Mr. Wyatt’s total was greater than that of any winning candidate. Mr. Wyatt carried nearly every precinct, while Mr. McSain came out of the fight with only a scattered few.
Mr. Wyatt received 7,962 votes and Mr. McSain 4,889.
J. Mack Crawford, klan candidate for alderman, filed to carry his home precinct, No. 29. He lost it by 57.
When Mr. Wyatt came into the council chamber, where the returns were being reported, he was loudly cheered. Friends on every side rushed forward to shake his hand and congratulate him. He was carried to the platform and called for a speech.
“My friends,” said Mr. Wyatt, “I am deeply grateful to you. If I tried to say another word I would cry.”
A.T. Wilke, klan indorsed candidate for the city treasurer’s job, was an easy opponent for Dave Sullivan, who was running for re-election.
A.B. Poe, Dudley alderman candidate, administered a severe drubbing to J. Mack Crawford, klan indorsed candidate for place No. 2. When the race first started klansmen predicted that Mr. Crawford would lead his ticket.
The voting was one of the closest in the history of the city. It was also one election that was minus applications for writs of mandamus.
One of the several features of the voting consisted in the fact that Mack Crawford and Poe had in two precincts. This was in 19, where each got 114, and in 21, where both got 129.
Senator Dudley and Gardner divided honors in the latter precinct, each getting 113 votes each.
No. 3 First Box In
No. 3 was the first box delivered t the city hall. This came in at 7:15. It was followed at 7:25 by box 5. Before 8 o’clock six boxes were in.
Roy M. Walker, H.M. Morris and Wilke were the only defeated candidates who came in to see the returns come in. They arrived at a late hour
H. Leavell was given a majority over E.F. Cameron, klan indorsed candidate for chairman of the city Democratic executive committee. The other Dudley members of the committees, Dr. H.P. Deady, Harvey Wilcox, Joseph A. Wright and Frank T. Strother were also ejected.
Every member of the present city executive committee, including Judge L.A. Dale, E.C. Bray, Maj. Richard Burges and William Regan were on hand to receive the returns. The committee will meet Monday afternoon at 2 o’clock to make an official canvass. The report will then be delivered to the city council.
Precinct 25 which had a voting strength of 336, polled 353. Kroeckel and Berkshire got the same number of votes in the precinct, each receiving 128.
Mrs. S.S. Baker, secretary of the Dudley campaign, was all appreciation last night when victory was complete.
“The splendid co-operation and the untiring energy of the 60 women workers for the Dudley ticket was remarkable and was an extremely important factor in the winning of the campaign,” said Mrs. Baker. “Too much praise cannot be bestowed on these women who worked so tirelessly in the interest of the ticket.” Mrs. Baker has taken an active part in the last eight campaigns.
Gardner Not Through
P.E. Gardner, defeated Ku Klux Klan candidate for mayor, left his headquarters last night about 11 o’clock and went home.
“I was fighting for a good cause, which is never lost. We have not started to fight yet,” he said.
R.E. Ross, candidate on the Gardner ticket for alderman, said last night that he thanked his friends for their support and in case of a run-off he still wanted his loyal friends to support him.
A.T. Wilke, candidate for city treasurer on the Garner ticket, said that he lost the race with a smile and thanked his friends for their support. “I lost a clean race against a hard man to bet.”
W.K. Ramsey said: “I thank my many friends for their loyal support and in case of a run-off, I want their support, in order that I may co-operate with Mayor Dudley in making this a greater El Paso.”
John M. Wyatt, candidate for city assessor and collector: “I certainly thank my friends for their loyal support and will do all in my power to co-operate with Mayor Dudley in making a greater El Paso.”
Stewart Berkshire, candidate for corporation court judge, and Charles Kroeckel, his rival, declined comment with the race in the balance.
At Gardner headquarters, C.L. Sirmans and John Woods kept close check on all election returns and assisted in announcing the returns from the various precincts
“Ring Against Us”
On a large tabulation sheet were placed the numbers of the various candidates. At the top of the sheet were several notations, reflective to the Gardner ticket. Two of the notations were as follows: “Opposed by all newspapers in the city” and “Opposed by the court house and city hall ring.”
George B. Oliver and R.H. Olive were seated at the same table with Mr. Sirmans and Mr. Woods. When questioned as to his opinion as to the election, George Oliver said, “I have nothing to say for the Times.”
Few Weak Cheers
The spirits of the small crowd of supporters at Gardner headquarters deemed to blend with the cloudy and rainy evening outside. When the returns were read a few Gardnerites made a brave attempt to give a few cheers, but their effort was drowned by the loud talk f a number of women, who loudly proclaimed, “They stole it, we know that the did; why don’t someone protest?” When returns were announced that Stewart Berkshire, Ku Klux Klan candidate for judge of the corporation court, was in the lead, cheering was renewed with better effect.
Various groups gathered off in the corners of the room and discussed at length the various happenings of the day, some accounting for the defeat by bewailing the fact that their voters had not come out, while others insisted that something “was pulled.”
One man celebrating the Dudley victory broke up an informal meeting of the Gardner women supporters, at Texas and Stanton streets, when he drove up in his automobile and suggested that they sing “Rescue the Perishing” instead of “Onward, Christian Soldiers.”
W.P.B. McSain, Ku Klux Klan candidate for e-election as city assessor and tax collector, was nowhere to be found last night, and according to a number of his friend had gone to his home early in the evening and would not answer the telephone.
Judge Charles Pollock, candidate for re-election as judge of the corporation court, was also missing last night and according to his friends and supporters “could not be bothered about the election returns.”
H.P. Jackson, Dudley aldermanic candidate, has clinched his nomination by gaining a majority vote over both his opponents, Robert Lander, Gardner candidate, and John H. Harper, Independent. Mr. Jackson’s vote is 6,536 and Mr. Harper 835.
Runoffs will be necessary in places three and four. W.K. Ramsey and Milton C. Tracy, respective Gardner candidates, failing to get a majority vote.
In place three Alderman WT. Griffith, up for renomination, received 2,858 votes, and R.E, Ross, klan candidate, received 4,065. Mr. Ramsey is high man with 5,683.
In place four Mr. Tracy received 5,880, his nearest opponent, Roy M. Walker, klan candidate, receiving 5,045. Frank H. Balt, independent, received 1,479 votes. All three candidates in place four are union men and this race was dubbed the union labor “sweep-stakes.”
In the race for corporation judge W. Berkshire received 5,019, Charles A. Kroeckel 4,201 and Judge Charles Pollock 3,389. A runoff will be necessary between Mr. Berkshire and Mr. Kroeckel.
The Waxahachie boys failed to “put it over.” Several of the 50 east Texas klansmen, representing the “flying squadron” sent here to assist the local klan in winning the election, were recognized by an El Paso woman who formerly lived at Waxahachie. She spoke to some of them in front of Gardner headquarters.