Jefferson County Online
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Political Parties

The following is a chapter from "The History of Jefferson County, Iowa", Page 434, published by the Western Historical Company of Chicago in 1879.



Previous to the organization of the Rpublican party, in 1856, the people of Jefferson County were divided between Whigs and Democrats, with a good working majority in favor of the latter. In local contests, party lines were not always closely defined, and a Whig was sometimes elected to fill some county office. In the election of members of the Legislature, the Democrats generally pulled together and elected their men. The first break in this long-established rule was made in 1852.

In that year there were three members of the House and two members of the Senate to be elected from this county. The Democrats nominated Samuel Whitmore, James Thompson and W. J. Rogers for the House, and Col. W. G. Coop and Dr. Ramage for the Senate. The Whigs nominated Dr. Edward Meacham, H. B. Mitchell and John Andrews (as now remembered) for the House, and John Park and Thomas O. Wamsley for the Senate. The canvas was closely contested. Both parties put in their "best licks." The result was a divided delegation. The Democrats elected two members of the House -- Samuel Whitmore and W. J. Rogers, and the Whigs elected H. B. Mitchell, who has the honor of being the first Whit elected from Jefferson County to the Iowa House of Representatives. Coop, Democrat, and John Park, Whig, were elected to the Senate.

In 1856, when the Republican party had fully organized and presented candidates for President and Vice President, thereby asserting its national strength, the Republican spirit, that had been slumbering in Jefferson County, began to assert itself, since when the Republican party has had everything pretty much its own way. Occasionally, however, as in the case of the present County Treasurer, a Democrat has been chosen to fill some of the county offices, just as a Whig used to be in ante-Republican days.

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