By Wally Edge | October 29th, 2008 - 6:00pm
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Former Newark Mayor Jacob Haussling was one of New Jersey's most colorful and tragic political figures.  He was 33-years-old Democrat when he launched his political career in 1888 as an unsuccessful candidate for Essex County Sheriff.  He ran for County Clerk in 1891 and lost to Republican Richard Cooper by just seventeen votes countywide.  He was elected Sheriff in 1893, but lost his 1896 bid for re-election to Republican Henry Doremus.

Ten years later, Haussling sought a political comeback -- and a rematch with Doremus -- on a single issue: his opposition to the "Bishop's Law," a local ordinance that forced saloons to close on Sundays. His "liberality with decency" agenda met with the approval of voters.  Haussling defeated Doremus, who was seeking re-election to his third term as Mayor of Newark.

"Mr. Haussling was no reformer.  Once a reform organization said of him that he ran on a single platform and that plank was 'What'll you have?," according to a published report.  "He never resented the accusation nor was he ashamed of the fact that he could start campaigning at 7 o'clock in the evening, keep going till the next morning, always know one more place where men in receptive mood were to be found, and always leave by the wayside candidates of weaker fiber."

Haussling was re-elected easily in 1908, 1910 and 1912.  But controversies surrounding the indictment of the Essex County Democratic boss James R. Nugent (who had been dumped by Gov. Woodrow Wilson as Democratic State Chairman) helped Republican Thomas Raymond unseat Haussling in the 1914 election.

Haussling became depressed after his loss and committed suicide nine years later at age 66.  "They all left him," his widow told the reporter who wrote his obituary.  "A few years ago he couldn't walk the streets without being stopped by thousands of friends.  But that was all changed, and it broke his heart." 

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 22nd

Winners and Losers: Week of September 15th WINNERS Chris Christie NBC News reported Thursday evening that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has determined after a nine-month investigation that there is 'no evidence" so far that the governor had advance knowledge about any politically motivated scheme around the bridge lane closures...

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Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >

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Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"In many ways, Fulop has embraced McGreevey’s granular-level approach to retail politics, racing around the state to raise money for congressional candidates in South Jersey one night, showing up at a Morris County Democratic Party function the next. His administration has also awarded legal work to Weiner Lesniak, the Parsippany-based firm run by state Sen. Ray Lesniak, the Union County Democratic Party power broker." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record

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