1916 Election Cycle
In March 1916, Minnesota held its first presidential primaries. Democratic President Woodrow Wilson ran unopposed and Iowa U.S. Senator Albert Cummins easily won a three-candidate race for the Republicans. In November, Wilson nearly became the first Democrat to carry Minnesota – losing to Charles Hughes by 392 votes (0.1 percent) – in what would go down as the closest presidential race in state history. Only New Hampshire served up a more competitive race this cycle (0.06 points).
The Democratic Party was in disarray in the remaining statewide races. Governor J.A.A. Burnquist was elected by 39.1 points – the biggest blowout in Minnesota history for the office. Democrats failed to field a nominee for the first time in history in races for Secretary of State (Julius Schmahl was reelected to a record sixth term), Attorney General (Lyndon Smith winning a fourth term), and Treasurer (with Henry Rines winning an open seat). Republican Railroad and Warehouse Commissioner Ira Mills was also reelected and the GOP also won the open seat for Lieutenant Governor (Thomas Frankson).
In the U.S. Senate, Moses Clapp lost his first direct election to the chamber when he placed a distant third with just 15.2 percent in the June Republican primary behind nominee Frank Kellogg and former Governor Adolph Eberhart. Kellogg easily dispatched with Democratic nominee Daniel Lawler by 17.7 points with Prohibitionist Willis Calderwood receiving and impressive 20.6 percent of the vote.
Two-term Republican U.S. Representative George Smith lost the 5th CD primary to Ernest Lundeen as the lone incumbent to seek and lose renomination. Partisan control of all 10 seats remained the same: eight Republican-held, one Democratic (the 4th), and one Progressive (the 10th).
Appointed Supreme Court Associate Justice Albert Schaller failed to be nominated after placing third in the June primary in a seat won by Winona attorney and former state Representative William Anderson in November.