September 7, 2010

James M. Mead - New Deal Senator. Switched with Herbert Lehman to run for Governor and lost his shirt.

James M. Mead is a name virtually forgotten. He was a New Deal Senator who represented New York from 1938 until 1947. During those years Herbert Lehman was Governor of New York, and in 1946 Mead switched with Lehman who in turn ran for Mead's Senate seat. Lehman won but Mead lost out to Thomas Dewey. By all appearances it was a gamble that lost.

But on September 9, 1946, Mead was riding high and delivered a high-energy acceptance speech at the State Democratic Convention to kick off the campaign.

James M. Mead: “I accept this heavy responsibility because I am convinced that the time has come in this state when the people must choose between the principles for which those three great men stood (FDR, Alfred Smith, Herbert Lehman), and the unsound principles that have been advanced, financed and fostered by a group of faithless and visionless reactionaries. Men who look backward and not forward. Men who seek to befuddle the public in order to obtain their own selfish end. They make bold to speak for the many, while they act for the few.”

After his defeat, Mead served on the Federal Trade Commission from 1949-1955 before quietly fading from politics

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