State Historic Site
Kendrick & His Senatorial Challengers (TESHS)
Four Wyoming Governors (AHC)
A Whole-House Exhibit at the Trail End State Historic Site
April 2016 - December 2016
EVEN THOUGH HE was a relative newcomer to Wyoming’s political scene – he had only served a two-year term as a state senator from Sheridan County – John B. Kendrick almost became a U.S. Senator in 1912 instead of 1916. Almost being the operative word!
Prior to 1913, it was the state legislature that chose who would serve in the U.S. Senate. Early returns in the 1912 election indicated that Democrats would take control of the Wyoming legislature, thus insuring Kendrick a win. It wasn’t until six nail-biting days later that the results became official: the Republicans carried just enough legislative seats to give the win to GOP incumbent Francis E. Warren.
In 1916, while serving as Governor, Kendrick was again drafted by party leaders to run for the Senate (according to Kendrick, he didn’t want to be a senator; he was nominated for the job in a write-in campaign spearheaded by “independent republicans and democrats"). This time, they figured Kendrick had a chance of winning.
In 1913, Congress had ratified the 17th Amendment, putting the election of senators directly into the hands of the people. If it hadn’t, three-term veteran Clarence D. Clark would most likely have been returned to the Senate in the 1916 election because Republicans still controlled the state legislature. Instead, Kendrick carried the election by three thousand popular votes.
BY THE WAY ...
Kendrick’s reelections were even easier: he beat 1922 challenger Frank W. Mondell by 9,000 votes and his 1928 opponent, Charles E. Winter, by 6,000.