100 years ago in The Record
Saturday, Dec. 7, 1918. Barely one month after the 1918 congressional elections, “those people who are able to sustain their interest in politics” are already speculating about Troy’s chances of sending a real representative to Congress two years from now. The Collar City is divided between the 28th and 29th congressional districts. Both are represented by Republicans, the 28th district by Rollin B. Sanford of Albany, the 29th by James S. Parker of Salem. Some Rensselaer County Republicans want to see one of their own take the place of Sanford or Parker in 1921. They look to Troy’s collar industry for leadership, hoping to see Alba M. Ide inherit the 28th district or E. Harold Cluett take over the 29th. Ide is the president of the Rensselaer County Republican Club and a member of the state party’s executive committee, and has a powerful friend in state supreme court judge Wesley O. Howard. His presumptive district, however, is dominated geographically by Albany County and politically by Albany Republican boss William Barnes, the publisher of the Albany Evening Journal. “Mr. Ide would have to secure the approval of the Barnes organization for his candidacy as the wards in which he would run in Troy have been going five and six thousand against the Republican nominee,” The Record reports, “How successful the judge would be in in- ducing Mr. Barnes to part with a congressman so as to give one to Troy is a matter of uncertain conjecture.”
Cluett, whose Fifth Ward residence falls inside the 29th district, appears to have a better chance at getting nominated. The 29th is made up of “the strongest Republican sections of Rensselaer county,” along with Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties.
“In the upper district there is a good deal of factional strife among the Republicans,” our reporter explains, “A soreness in Warren county has been brought about by the retirement of Senator James A. Emerson. There is friction in Saratoga county kept alive by the intense struggle for leadership between Senator George H. Whitney and [former sheriff] Frederick W. Kavanaugh .… and there is a good deal of disaffection in Washington county.”
In other words, those counties are unlikely to unite behind a single candidate should Parker choose not to run again. Rensselaer County’s GOP isn’t free from factionalism, but our writer believes that local Republicans are more likely to unite behind “a man of Mr. Cluett’s standing and experience.”
Whether either Parker or Sanford, who “have had the experience of several years of service at very critical times [and] enjoy valuable committee appointments,” will step aside in 1920 remains to be seen.