New York gubernatorial election, 1938

The 1938 New York state election was held on November 8, 1938, to elect the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the State Comptroller, the Attorney General, two U.S. Senators and two U.S Representatives-at-large, as well as all members of the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate.


The Republican state convention met on September 29, Speaker Oswald D. Heck presided. They nominated D.A. of New York Thomas E. Dewey for Governor. Also nominated were Frederic H. Bontecou for Lieutenant Governor; Julius Rothstein for Comptroller; Col. Arthur V. McDermott for Attorney General; and John L. O'Brian and Edward Corsi for the U.S. Senate.[1]

The Democratic state convention met on October 1, and re-nominated the incumbents Lehman, Tremaine, Bennett and Wagner; and completed the ticket with Supreme Court Justice Charles Poletti for Lieutenant Governor; and John M. Mead for short term in the U.S. Senate.[2]

The Socialist state convention met on October 1, and nominated again Norman Thomas for Governor; and Dr. George W. Hartmann for Lieutenant Governor; Coleman B. Cheney for Comptroller; and Miss Marion L. Severn for Attorney General.[3]

The American Labor state convention met on October 3 at the Manhattan Opera House in New York City and nominated the Democratic incumbent Herbert H. Lehman for Governor. They also endorsed Democrats Poletti, Wagner, Mead,[4] Merritt and O'Day; and completed the ticket with Langdon W. Post for Comptroller and Joseph V. O'Leary for Attorney-General.[5]

The "Independent Progressive" Party filed a petition to nominate a ticket headed by Republican Thomas E. Dewey. This was done to have a second ballot line, like Gov. Lehman who ran on two lines also.[6]

The Socialist Labor Party changed its name and filed a petition to nominate candidates as the "Industrial Government Party.[7]


The whole Democratic ticket was elected.

The incumbents Lehman, Tremaine, Bennett, Wagner, Merritt and O'Day were re-elected.

1938 state election results
Office Democratic ticket Republican ticket American Labor ticket Communist ticket Socialist ticket Independent Progressive ticket Industrial Government ticket
Governor Herbert H. Lehman 1,971,307 Thomas E. Dewey 2,302,505 Herbert H. Lehman 419,979 (none) Norman Thomas 24,980 Thomas E. Dewey 24,387 Aaron M. Orange 3,516
Lieutenant Governor Charles Poletti Frederic H. Bontecou[8] Charles Poletti George W. Hartmann[9] Frederic H. Bontecou Jacob Berlin
Comptroller Morris S. Tremaine Julius Rothstein Langdon W. Post[10] Coleman B. Cheney[11]
Attorney General John J. Bennett, Jr. Arthur V. McDermott[12] Joseph V. O'Leary Marion L. Severn[13]
U.S. Senator (full term) Robert F. Wagner John Lord O'Brian Robert F. Wagner Herman J. Hahn[14] John Lord O'Brian O. Martin Olson[15]
U.S. Senator (short term)[16] James M. Mead Edward F. Corsi James M. Mead Harry W. Laidler Edward F. Corsi
U.S. Representative-at-large Matthew J. Merritt Richard B. Scandrett, Jr. 1,990,455 Matthew J. Merritt Israel Amter 105,601 Brendan Sexton 24,990 Jeremiah D. Crowley[17] 5,080
U.S. Representative-at-large Caroline O'Day Helen Z. M. Rodgers 2,011,507 Caroline O'Day Edna Mitchell Blue[18] 25,214


  • "Blank, void and scattering" votes: 75,047 (Governor)
  • The vote for Governor is used to define ballot access, for all other offices numbers are totals on all tickets for candidates nominated on more than one.



  • Official Result: in NYT on December 8, 1938 (subscription required)

See also

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