The mano a mano combat eased up after that skirmish, but both editors were still flushed for battle. Opposing political parties were labeled a “machine” or “gang,” and Republican editor Lemmon was ready to name names: Besides Geary (described above), others he condemned as part of a Democratic party cabal were Press Democrat editor Finley and Charles O. Dunbar, a state assemblyman running for re-election. Dunbar — who would later become mayor of Santa Rosa — was also a one of Finley’s partners in the Press Democrat, and was the only other person on the masthead (as “business manager”).
Finley seemed to have a wee too much invested emotionally in the election’s outcome. His editorials became increasingly shrill, even using long stretches of capitalization for inarticulate emphasis (SEE BELOW). Nearly every edition in the month before the election predicted a cakewalk for Alton Parker and/or Bell; the day before the vote, the PD reported Parker was relaxing on his farmhouse porch reviewing letters from office-seekers. Freudians can also draw their own conclusions as to Finley’s repeated references to Bell being the more manly candidate. The attacks on Republicans became hysteric. If Bell was “a brave, energetic, clean and brainy young man,” McKinlay was an indolent sloth, “lolling about in the luxuriant quarters of the Union League Club” in his tuxedo. Republican victory was a national threat; the over-the-top editorial cartoon showing a “Rooseveltism” bayonet through the U.S. Constitution gave no quarter.
Then suddenly it was over, and it was a rout; Roosevelt swept the nation, even breaking the coalition of the “Solid South” for the first time since the Civil War by winning Missouri. Teddy also won the Missouri-settled county here, including every precinct in Santa Rosa by comfortable margins.
Theodore Bell lost in a close race, as did Dunbar.
Probably exhausted by it all, editor Finley headed east for a vacation at the World’s Fair. A couple of weeks later, the Press Democrat reported he’d shipped his dad some persimmons picked from a tree on the Midwest family homestead, a far distance from the flapdoodles.
GOOD MORALS GANG
Geary, Dunbar, and Finley are the self constituted committee on good morals in this city. We are not informed as to when they reformed. What do the moral people of this community think of that gang in the character they have assumed? They are the principle ones making Bell’s fight in this county and the ones who will have most influence with him if he should be elected.– Santa Rosa Republican, November 5, 1904
WHY SHOULD IT REQUIRE SO MUCH EFFORT TO DEFEAT A DEMOCRAT IN A STRONG REPUBLICAN DISTRICT LIKE THIS?
The Republican “machine,” as most everybody knows, is making the fight of the state in this district in the hope of being able to overcome Congressman Bell’s strength before the people, and defeat him.
The men and the influence back of Duncan McKinlay’s campaign are doing their very best to force him upon the people of this district, although they know the people do not want him.
In support of that policy these men, most of whom reside outside the district, have determined to have a big meeting her Monday night when Duncan McKinlay speaks, if it takes “the last dollar in the sack.”
It is announced that special trains are to be run form [sic] all directions, that the Governor of this great state is to be requisitioned and brought here from his home in Alameda county to make a speech in McKinlay’s behalf, and that a big “marching club” is to be imported from Oakland — which is also outside of the district — in a monster, stupendous and Herculean effort to get up a demonstration and to prevent that meeting from being a “frost.”
IF THESE THINGS ARE TRUE, WHY SHOULD THE “MACHINE” FIND IT NECESSARY TO WORK SO HARD TO DEFEAT THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE?
IN A “REPUBLICAN YEAR, AND IN A DISTRICT 3,000 REPUBLICAN TO START IN WITH, WHY IS IT APPARENT TO ALL OBSERVANT PEOPLE THAT THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE IS DOOMED TO DEFEAT?
THERE ARE JUST TWO REASONS: THEODORE BELL IS ALL THAT HE SHOULD BE, BOTH AS AN OFFICIAL AND AS A MAN AND DUNCAN McKINLAY IS NOT.
And that’s why “There’s nothin’ to it![“]
– Press Democrat, November 6, 1904
DEMOCRACY KNOCKED OUT
There was little Democracy in the so-called Democratic meeting in this city the other night. As far as possible there was avoidance of reference to the national party or the principles, practices or candidates of the same. Parker’s name was mentioned once, but it was greeted with slight applause. As far as possible it was an effort to use the livery of Republicanism in the service of Democracy. Geary presided, presumably in the interest of decency and morality. Poor old Democratic party…– Santa Rosa Republican, November 5, 1904
Like the boy in the graveyard, the Republican press is whistling hard to keep its courage up, but it is a hard task. The local members of that party know their Congressional fight is lost, and many of them are privately admitting the fact on the streets.– Press Democrat, November 6, 1904
Duncan McKinlay in his Tuxedo suit and lolling about in the luxuriant quarters of the Union League Club has undoubtedly been cutting considerable a swath around the Palace Hotel and certain other places that might be mentioned, since shaking the dust of this city and country from his feet, but he has been doing nothing calculated to add to his loyalty as a representative of this district if he should be elected to that position. Few will be apt to deny that the interests of the district would be far safer in the hands of a man like Theodore Bell, whose interest and hopes are all centered here in the district to which he has ever proved loyal, than to any man of whom the same things can not be said.– Press Democrat, November 6, 1904
A vote for Theodore Bell for Congress today will be a vote to help a brave, energetic, clean and brainy young man along — one who during his ten years of public life has never yet given his friends and supporters any cause to regret having assisted him.– Press Democrat, November 8, 1904
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