Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bovina Goes to the Polls

It's election time. 150 years ago was the historic 1860 Presidential election, in which Abraham Lincoln, in a four way race, was elected President. His election precipitated the succession of southern states from the union. In Bovina, only two of the four candidates running nationally received votes. Abraham Lincoln received 179 votes, while Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas received 60 votes. 100 years later, the Republican candidate again carried Bovina. When John F. Kennedy was elected President by a close margin, he received only 65 votes in Bovina, to 238 for Richard Nixon.

But this year is a gubernatorial election year. When Bovina was created in 1820, governors served two year terms, so the elections were more frequent. In Bovina's first year, the choices for governor were Daniel D. Tompkins and Dewitt Clinton. They both were of the Democratic-Republican Party, but of two different factions. Tompkins was a Bucktail while Clinton was a Clintonian. In a close election in Bovina and statewide, Clinton was elected. He carried Bovina by one vote, 37 to 36. Clinton carried Bovina each subsequent time he ran. In 1824, running as the People's party candidate, he got 93 votes, to 43 votes for Democratic-Republican candidate Samuel Young.

When the Whig party came into being in the late 1830s, Bovina regularly voted for Whig candidates. The first time was the 1838 election for governor, when William Seward was elected. In Bovina, he received 131 votes to 87 for William Marcy, the Democratic candidate. The one exception to the Whig trend was in 1848, when the Democratic Barnburner candidate, John Dix, received 204 votes in Bovina, while the Democratic Hunker candidate got only 6 votes and the Whig (Hamilton Fish) received only 13 votes. Fish won statewide. Bovina was back in the Whig column in 1850, when Washington Hunt, running as a Whig and Anti-rent candidate, received 194 votes, to only 30 for the Democratic candidate, Horatio Seymour.

Bovina went firmly into the Republican column in the 1850s when that party came into being. In 1856, the Republican candidate for governor, John King, received 174 votes in Bovina, while Erastus Brooks, the Know Nothing candidate, received 59 votes and Amasa Parker, the Democrat, only 19 votes. Throughout the rest of the 19th century and for the entire 20th century, whether for President, Governor, or for other statewide or national offices, Bovina leaned strongly Republican. Even in years when the Democrats made strong showings nationwide, Bovina generally went with the GOP. When Franklin Roosevelt was re-elected in 1936 in a landslide against Alf Landon, Landon received 319 votes in Bovina to only 79 for Roosevelt. One exception to that trend was in 1996 when, in a three way Presidential race, Bill Clinton carried Bovina.

The trend has started to change in the 21st century. In the 2006 Gubernatorial race, Elliot Spitzer carried Bovina by about 40 votes. In the 2008 Presidential election, John McCain edged out Barack Obama in Bovina, but by only five votes.

Whatever your political affiliation, be sure to take your part in history today - VOTE!

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