Arizona has two governors
“Thousands see Campbell inaugurated while Hunt still bars the doors,” read the headline in the Bisbee Daily Review. Arizona’s first, second (and eventually many-time) governor George W. P. Hunt wasn’t giving up the executive offices in Phoenix, even though Thomas E. Campbell (apparently) had been elected the new governor of the state, in a battle as contentious as the recent presidential election.
The choice of governor would have many repercussions that would play out in the Bisbee Deportation, which rocked the state some six months later.
The Associated Press reported, in a story datelined Jan. 1 out of Phoenix, that “Arizona presents the seeming paradox of having two governors today,” the first day of the new year, when elective offices changed out.
While the Campbell inauguration was peaceful, “Hunt or his agent still occupies the executive offices in the state house and continues to resist all efforts to oust him.”
Campbell’s lawyers asked for a writ ofand a court hearing had been set to establish who was really governor. That needed to be done before Jan. 8, when the legislature was set to convene.
Hunt (through friends) had offered to leave the executive office if the inspection of ballots be stopped, a process then about half way complete, and action be taken on what had already been discovered. Campbell rejected the offer.
Campbell bore no animosity
Campbell delivered his inaugural address from the state capitol, “surrounded by friends of both big political parties.” He spoke, the AP said, to thousands of people in attendance. Despite the bitterness and opposition of the election, he said he bore no political animosity.
“Today the executive branch of the government is transferred to new keeping, but it is still in the hands of the people,” the new governor said. “The bitterness of defeat and the exultation of triumph should be supplanted by an ungrudging acquiescence to the popular will.”
He added that he would administer the office without appeal to class prejudice or partisan animosity. The news report said that the “expected outburst against his opponents did not develop.”
The conflict between labor and capital, which had been a major issue of the election, especially in relation to the mining industry, was mentioned, and he said that a recognition of the rights of both sides was important.
Hunt said he would continue his job
Hunt, who was at his country home, declined to talk about the election, the AP reported. He said that he never showed up at the governor’s office on a holiday, but the following day, he intimated, he would be back at his desk, exercising the functions of the governor.
He added that inspection of the ballots thus far had indicated he had received a majority of the votes and would be serving out the next two-year term.
Campbell, in his inaugural address, made one reference to the contest: “The man who has to regard the ballot box as a juggler’s hat has renounced his allegiance; a party success that is achieved by unfair methods is hurtful and transitory.”
Dems threaten to repudiate Hunt
Meanwhile, the state’s Democrats, the predominant party in Arizona, threatened to repudiate Hunt, an action that “seems assured,” the Review said.
“Chairman George J. Stoneman, of the Demoratic state central committee, has sent a letter to the various members of the committee in which he recounts the actions of Hunt and infers, without possibility of mistake, that the once successful leader of the party in the state has brought that organization into disrepute.”
The Bisbee newspaper printed Stoneman’s letter, written Dec. 31, in toto, noting that it hadn’t even considered Hunt’s “action in holding the governor’s chair by force.”
This will be a continuing saga throughout the year. I’ll also be putting up some articles about how the situation came to be.