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  US House Speaker
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Parents > United States > U.S. House of Representatives > Speaker of the House
OfficeSpeaker of the House
Type General Election
Filing Deadline December 01, 1849 - 12:00pm
Polls Open December 03, 1849 - 06:00am
Polls Close December 22, 1849 - 11:30am
Term Start December 22, 1849 - 12:05pm
Term End March 04, 1851 - 12:00pm
Turnout 0.01% Total Population
ContributorChronicler
Last ModifiedRBH January 13, 2011 04:06am
Data SourcesNorman D. Brown, Edward Stanly: Whiggery's Tarheel 'Conqueror', pp. 128-131; Congressional Globe for balloting. The Globe states who each member of the House voted for on each ballot.
Description
The election of the Speaker of the U.S. House in 1849 is one of the five bitter contests for the posts in the history of the nation. The House devoted an entire month to a succession of ballots for Speaker before reaching a compromise on the 63d ballot.

A large part of the problem was the divided nature of the House. In the elections of 1848-1849, the Democratic Party regained a plurality of seats in the House. Its success was regional, as it won 68% of the seats in slave states but only 39% of the seats in free states. The final party breakdown was 113 Democrats, 108 Whigs, 9 Free Soilers, and two Independents.

When Congress assembled on 12/3/1849, the two parties were aware that choosing a Speaker would not be simple. The Democrats held a caucus and nominated Howell Cobb, a Georgia moderate. Several Democrats from free states were unwilling to cast a vote for any Democrat from the South, as their tacit support of the Wilmot Proviso was needed for re-election. The Whigs had a similar problem. The incumbent Speaker, Robert C. Winthrop of Massachusetts, was interested in a second term. A handful of Southern Whigs refused to support him because he would not openly come out against the Wilmot Proviso. The handful of Free Soil Representatives held the balance of power. Throughout the balloting, the Whigs reminded them that they could elect a northerner as Speaker (the Whig Winthrop) or a slaveholding Southerner (the Democrat Cobb). For the most

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LAST GENERAL ELECTION
  PartyWhig Won12/06/1847
NameRobert C. Winthrop Votes110 (42.31%)
Term12/06/1847 - 03/04/1849 Margin28 (+10.77%)
NEXT GENERAL ELECTION
  PartyDemocratic Won12/01/1851
NameLinn Boyd Votes118 (55.40%)
Term12/02/1851 - 03/04/1853 Margin97 (+45.54%)
PRIMARY/OTHER SCHEDULE
MAP
KEY RACE? 0.0000000000 Average
LEANING PREDICTIONS    Detail
CandidateSlightLeanStrongSafe
Leaning Call: 0 (0.00%)
Weighted Call: 0 (0.00%)

CANDIDATES
Photo
Name Rep. Howell Cobb Rep. William J. Brown (I) Rep. Robert C. Winthrop Rep. Linn Boyd Rep. Emery D. Potter Rep. Edward Stanly Rep. John Alexander McClernand
PartyDemocratic Democratic Whig Democratic Democratic Whig Democratic
Website
Certified Votes103 (10.72%) 112 (11.66%) 102 (10.61%) 87 (9.05%) 78 (8.12%) 75 (7.80%) 50 (5.20%)
Margin-9 (-0.94%) 0 (0.00%) -10 (-1.04%) -25 (-2.60%) -34 (-3.54%) -37 (-3.85%) -62 (-6.45%)
Predict Avg.0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Cash On Hand $-- $-- $-- $-- $-- $-- $--
MATCHUP POLLS (0 from 0 pollsters)
ENDORSEMENTS
Endorsements
MORE CANDIDATES
Photo
Name Rep. William Alexander Richardson Rep. Thaddeus Stevens Rep. William Duer Rep. Charles Morehead Rep. Edward W. McGaughey Rep. William Strong Rep. Hugh White
PartyDemocratic Whig Whig Whig Whig Democratic Whig
Website
Certified Votes29 (3.02%) 27 (2.81%) 26 (2.71%) 22 (2.29%) 18 (1.87%) 17 (1.77%) 16 (1.67%)
Margin-83 (-8.64%) -85 (-8.84%) -86 (-8.95%) -90 (-9.37%) -94 (-9.78%) -95 (-9.89%) -96 (-9.99%)
Predict Avg.0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Cash On Hand $-- $-- $-- $-- $-- $-- $--
MATCHUP POLLS (0 from 0 pollsters)
ENDORSEMENTS
Endorsements
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