There used to be a saying around Cochise County that if you wanted to vote in the primary election, you’d better be a Democrat. That inertia is probably why I’m still a registered Democrat. Today, if you register Independent, you can choose your primary ballot, which I think is totally wrong.
But back to the point of this article. Way back when, Cochise County was strongly Democrat, and Bisbee certainly was, though that didn’t mean the D letter after a candidate’s name would guarantee him an election. Voters looked at the man, and many Republicans were elected to office.
In May, 1904, Arizona was gearing up for sending representatives to the presidential conventions. Citizens of territories could not vote in federal elections, but they could participate in the conventions, and the Bisbee Daily Review, a Democrat newspaper (in that day, it actually mattered; in fact, Bisbee’s first newspaper, in 1888, was named the Democrat), was whipping up the politically interested.
The Cochise County Central Committee had met in Bisbee on April 23 and had called for a county convention to be held in Tombstone on May 14 to elect 30 delegates to represent the county at the territorial convention in Tucson May 23.
Apportionment of delegates
The Bisbee meeting apportioned delegates to Tombstone based on the population of Democrats in each community. A total of 105 delegates would attend, with 40 of them coming from Bisbee, which was both the largest population center and the largest party stronghold. Douglas, which was an up-and-coming smelter and railroad town at the time (both major Bisbee mining companies had built their facilities by that time), was second, with 15 delegates.
Tombstone, the county seat, added 10 and Bisbee’s borderlands suburbs, Naco and Osborne, also had a total of 10. As can be seen, the greater Bisbee area had almost half of the votes.
The Review included a series of editorials in its May 1 edition to discuss the upcoming meeting, including a warning to stay focused on “the common enemy,” the Republicans, who were very likely to be manifested in the ever-popular visage of Teddy Roosevelt. Continue reading