Railroad Commissioner State Executive Office

Elections: 1875-1883. The office of Railroad Commissioner was created in 1871 by the Minnesota legislature as a gubernatorial appointed position. On March 6, 1874, the legislature expanded the office to a three-member appointed Board of Railroad Commissioners. On March 8, 1875, the Board was replaced by a single, elected Railroad Commissioner. The Commissioner was elected to two-year terms through the 1883 cycle. On March 5, 1885, the legislature created a three-member Railroad and Warehouse Commission with members appointed by the Governor. There were never term limits for this office.

Most recent elections

Date Office Stage Winners Details
11/06/1883 Railroad Commissioner General James H. Baker (Republican) won with 78,329 votes (58.80%) and a winning margin of +21.40
Candidate Gender Party Votes Percent
James H. Baker Incumbent Man Republican 78,329 58.80
A.T. Lindholm Man Democrat 49,827 37.41
S. Meeker Man Prohibition 4,861 3.65
F. Gueswine Man Write-In 162 0.12
Scattering Write-In 27 0.02

Commissioner Baker was reelected to a second term. This was the last election to the Railroad Commission as an 1885 bill would change the single-member, directly elected Railroad Commission to a three-member, appointed Railroad and Warehouse Commission. The remaining offices were for three-year terms for this single cycle and then two-year terms beginning with the Election of 1886. Elections for the Railroad and Warehouse Commission would commence in 1900.

Lindholm was a resident of St. Paul and nominee for Washington County Treasurer in 1879.

Meeker was a resident of Evansville and cashier at the Bank of Evansville.

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11/08/1881 Railroad Commissioner General James H. Baker (Republican) won with 65,740 votes (63.57%) and a winning margin of +30.30
Candidate Gender Party Votes Percent
James H. Baker Man Republican 65,740 63.57
B.S. Cook Man Democrat 34,402 33.27
Joseph Goar Man Greenback 2,385 2.31
William R. Marshall Incumbent Man Prohibition 753 0.73
Scattering Write-In 132 0.13

Baker defeated Commissioner Marshall in the Republican convention nomination vote by a 155 to 144 margin.

Baker was a general from Mankato, former Ohio Secretary of State (1856-1858), former Minnesota Secretary of State (1860-1862), former state Commissioner of Pensions, state Surveyor General, Democratic-Farmers Alliance nominee for the 2nd CD in 1890, Democratic nominee for HD 10 in 1892, Democratic nominee for the 2nd CD in 1894, and Republican nominee for SD 11 in 1906.

Cook was a resident of Owatonna, and chair of the Democratic 1st Congressional District Committee. He would serve as Mayor of Owatonna and committed suicide on July 20, 1905.

Goar was an attorney from Morristown and Greenback-Labor nominee for Treasurer in 1879.

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11/04/1879 Railroad Commissioner General William R. Marshall (Republican) won with 60,651 votes (56.95%) and a winning margin of +20.12
Candidate Gender Party Votes Percent
William R. Marshall Incumbent Man Republican 60,651 56.95
William Colville Man Democrat 39,229 36.84
Ebenezer Ayres Man Greenback-Labor 4,043 3.80
Charles Griswold Man Prohibition 2,568 2.41

The official canvass did not include the results of Watonwan County due to the county auditor mislabeling the envelope when submitting county and state election results to the Secretary of State. The results above include the tally from Watonwan.

Commissioner Marshall was reelected to a fourth term.

Colville was an attorney from Red Wing, former Republican state Representative (HD 09, 1865-1866), former Republican Attorney General (1866-1868), and sitting Democrat state Representative (HD 16, 1878-1879).

Ayres was a farmer from Cottage Grove, former state Representative (HD 02, 1867-1868; HD 22, 1872-1873), Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 1873, Greenback nominee for Railroad Commissioner in 1877, and Greenback nominee for the 3rd CD in 1880.

Griswold was a reverend from Anoka.

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11/06/1877 Railroad Commissioner General William R. Marshall (Republican) won with 55,368 votes (57.72%) and a winning margin of +22.51
Candidate Gender Party Votes Percent
William R. Marshall Incumbent Man Republican 55,368 57.72
H.T. Hill Man Democrat 33,777 35.21
Ebenezer Ayres Man Greenback 3,021 3.15
H.W. Hill Man Democrat 2,546 2.65
Theodore G. (T.G.) Carter Man Prohibition 1,219 1.27
H.W. Stone Man Write-In 1 0.00

Commissioner Marshall was reelected to a third term.

Hill was a resident of Winona.

Ayres was a farmer from Cottage Grove, former state Representative (HD 02, 1867-1868; HD 22, 1872-1873), Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 1873, Greenback-Labor nominee for Railroad Commissioner in 1879, and Greenback nominee for the 3rd CD in 1880.

Carter was a farmer, civil engineer, and surveyor from St. Peter, and the Prohibition Party nominee for Auditor in 1878.

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11/02/1875 Railroad Commissioner General William R. Marshall (Republican) won with 45,044 votes (54.66%) and a winning margin of +11.97
Candidate Gender Party Votes Percent
William R. Marshall Incumbent Man Republican 45,044 54.66
W.T. Bonniwell Man Democrat 35,178 42.69
A.M. Greeley Man Prohibition 1,544 1.87
Alonzo J. (A.J.) Edgerton Incumbent Man Anti-Monopoly 635 0.77

Marshall and Edgerton had been appointed to the Commission.

Marshall was a resident of St. Anthony, former territorial Representative (HD 05, 1849-1850), former Governor (1866-1870), and appointed to the Railroad Commission in 1874.

Bonniwell was a resident of Hutchinson, former state Senator (SD 06, 1871-1872; SD 36, 1878-1883), former Wisconsin War Democratic state Assemblyman (1864-1865), and eventual state Representative (HD 36, 1877-1878).

Greeley was a resident of Minneapolis who would later become a newspaper publisher and editor.

Edgerton was an attorney from Mantorville, former Republican state Senator (SD 13, 1859-1861), and Breckenridge Democrat nominee for U.S. House in 1860. Edgerton's vote tally was not printed in the Secretary of State's election results but did appear in contemporary media articles. The above tally for Edgerton does not include the results from Big Stone County, Cass County, and the unorganized Pembina region.

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