Tananbaum, Duane, Drawn to public service

(New York, NY :  Columbia University Libraries,  c2009.)



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  Page 14  

''Lehman to Peter Sarap,
August?, 1954, Lehman
Papers, Special File,
Arthur Goodhart,

Catholicism, his opposition to Prohibition, his association with Tammany
Hall, his identification with New York City, his lack of experience on
national and international issues, and the general prosperity the country
was enjoying combined to produce an overwhelming victory for Herbert
Hoover and the Republicans.

Smith and Democratic Party leaders believed that a strong ticket for
New York State offices would boost Smith's chances of carrying his home
state. New York Republicans were planning to nominate State Attorney
General Albert Ottinger, ajew, for Governor, and Smith feared that
Ottinger and the Republicans would make significant inroads among
Jewish voters in New York City unless the Democrats responded with a
Jewish candidate of their own. The Governor floated Herbert Lehman's
name as a potential successor, knowing .that Lehman had the intelligence,
integrity, and administrative abilities to continue the progressive policies
that Smith had instituted in New York, but the Governor's advisors wor¬
ried that a Jewish candidate for Governor would confirm Protestants' fears
that Smith was anti-Protestant and would not appoint Protestants to high
positions if he were elected President. Eventually, Smith and the
Democratic leaders agreed that nominating Franklin Roosevelt, an upstate
Protestant, for Governor, and Herbert Lehman for Lieutenant Governor,
would be the best way to aid Smith's presidential candidacy.

Lehman and Roosevelt were both hesitant to run in 1928, but Lehman
agreed to do so to help Smith "combat the bigotry and discrimination
against a great public servant whose religion was not my own," Lehman's
willingness to serve helped persuade Roosevelt to accept the Democratic
nomination. Roosevelt knew that having such an able assistant in Albany
would allow him to spend as much time as necessary recuperating from
polio in Warm Springs, Georgia, and he also realized that Lehman's pres¬
ence on the ticket would minimize Jewish defections to Ottinger."'
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