|Charles Evans Hughes
November 7, 1916 was election day. President Woodrow Wilson was in a close battle in his quest to retain his lease on the White House.
Wilson vs. Hughes: Former Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes had mounted a serious challenge to the president. In fact, at one point, it looked like Hughes, dubbed the “bearded iceberg” by Theodore Roosevelt because of both his beard and his cold and bland personality, would capture the White House and make Wilson a one term president.
California Goes for Wilson: But late returns from California eventually shifted the Golden State’s 13 electoral votes into Wilson’s column, and tipped the scales to Wilson. It was a close race with Wilson winning California by just 3,773 votes.
As Hughes went to bed on election night before the final California returns had come in, he was confident that he had won the presidency. A reporter knocked on Hughes’ door the morning after the election to get his comments on this turn of events. An aide to Hughes informed the reporter that “The President can’t be disturbed.” The reporter replied: “Well when he wakes up tell him he’s no longer president.”
What If? How would history have been different if Hughes had beat Wilson?
Mike Purdy’s Presidential History Blog
© 2011 by Michael E. Purdy