Wayne County, IL


1936 Lt. Governor's Race


Pictures courtesy of Michael J. Von Gebel

George Hatzenbuhler for Lt. Governor

This political token was given to me by my Gt. Grandmother the last time I saw her alive.  She was in a nursing home suffering from old age and dementia and she handed me this and said to save this “dollar”   and never to spend it.  Well needless to say I didn’t spend it and it has spent these many years past in my little cedar box with the marbles, bird feathers, “Indian beads” and other assorted things boys collect in their youth. The token is about the size of a Kennedy half-dollar.

Recently I was going through things and seeing the token I decided let’s find out about George Hatzenbuhler. George Hatzenbuhler was born May 26, 1885 in Loda, Illinois.  He attended the University of Illinois.  Mr. Hatzenbuhler was a national director of Modern Woodmen, a Mason, Eastern Star and Odd Fellow.  He served as State Director of the Woodmen insurance program and was active in the real estate business.  George was also the one time McLean County, Illinois Republican chairman. 

Now that we have a little background on Mr. Hatzenbuhler let’s see how he fared running for Lt. Governor.  Mr. Hatzenbuhler ran in a four way race in the Republican primary against James A. McCallum, Theo Smith and John Clinnin. 

In the April 23, 1936 Wayne County Press we learn that, “ Eight thousand four hundred and sixty-six people went to the polls in Wayne Tuesday, 4341 republicans and 4125 democrats a Republican margin of 216. Although the number of votes this year greatly exceeds the number polled in April, 1934, and though the county still appears to be “Republican” the ratio is not nearly so large.  In 1934, 5794 ballots were cast, 4249 of which were Republican and only 1548 of which were Democratic-a Republican margin of 2698. Any Republican who called for a Democratic ballot Tuesday cannot enter a Republican primary again for two years or visa versa.”  Which will explain what happened with our Republican primary numbers below.

In the four way Republican primary James A. McCallum carried Wayne County with 1, 324 votes to George Hatzenbuhler’s 912 votes followed by Theo Smith with 384  votes and John Clinnin with 115 votes.  It appears a large segment of Republicans called for Democratic ballots in the primary.

In the Lt. Governor’s race Hatzenbuhler was the only downstate Republican his 3 main opponents were from Chicago.  Hatzenbuhler would go on to secure the nomination receiving a total of 234,884 votes to his closest rival James A. McCallum with 190, 009 votes.  In the November, 1936 general election Hatzenbuhler would see his chances for state office dashed by the coattails of Franklin D. Roosevelt which lifted the Democratic Party to sweep statewide offices. In Wayne County John Stelle (D) received 5692 votes and George Hatzenbuhler 5,229 votes. John Stelle, Democrat from McLeansboro, IL became the next Lt. Governor defeating George Hatzenbuhler by 795,000 vote’s state wide. George Hatzenbuhler died October 23, 1949 in Mansfield, Ohio the body was brought back to Illinois and interred in Park Hill Cemetery at Bloomington, Illinois.





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