It’s a Party! (DNC Chairs Not Invited)

Former Democratic National Committee Chair Tim Kaine hopes the result of his 2012 Virginia U.S. Senate campaign turns out differently than how past DNC chairs performed nearly a century ago in the Election of 1916. In Indiana, former DNC Chair Thomas Taggart (1904-1908) ran in a special election for a seat caused by the death of Democrat Benjamin Shively. Taggart had been appointed to the seat in March but lost by less than 10,000 votes to Republican James Watson that November. Taggart lost again to Watson in 1920’s rematch by more than 160,000 votes. In New York, DNC Chair William McCombs (1912-1916) was trounced by 15 points in his U.S. Senate race against Republican William Calder. But the 1916 cycle actually saw the state of Indiana run two former party chairs in U.S. Senate contests. An election was also held that November for the Hoosier State’s Class I Senate seat featuring former RNC Chair Harry New (1907-1908). However, New bucked the trend of his DNC colleagues and narrowly defeated Democratic incumbent John Kern by less than 12,000 votes.

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