The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903, December 07, 1901, Image 1

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Political Giants; Lock Horns
The Man Who Might Have Been Senator Seeks
Political Disgrace for the Man who Promised to
Make Him Senator but Didn't Keep His Word
t Fremont is si pretty, bustling little
V city in Dodge county, just where the
Platte makes a big bend southward.
after a vain effort to force its way
to the north. It boasts of perhaps S.000
inhabitants, but despite its size does
not appear to be large enough to con
tain two great political leaders.
a -Many years ago a young civil en
gineer came to Fremont. After a few
years' residence he was called to South
America to help in a great engineering
task. His work finished, he returned to
the young city of the plains and there
made his permanent home. This was
L. D. Richards, and for twenty-five
j ears he has been a foremost figure
in business and politics in Dodge coun
ty. In 1S90 he was the republican can
didate for governor, but lost in a three
cornered contest, just at the time when
the farmers' alliance and the anti-prohibition
furores raged highest. He has
twice been mayor of Fremont, but
aside from the governorship never
sought any other oillce. Mr. Richards
is a wealthy man. For years he has
been the head of the banking house of
Kichards & Keene and been extensive
ly engaged in real estate.
It. B. Schneider is one of Fremont's
wealthiest citizens. He is a member of
, le Xye-Schneider Grain company, one
?t the largest houses in the west. .Mr.
Vfhneider, too, is a Fremont resident
of many years. He began humbly, but
by great business sagacity and close
application to his enterprises has
placed himself in a position where he
is the recipient of a very large yearly
income. He has not been a prominent
figure in politics many years. He was
first induced to take an interest in the
fehcinating pastime of "making" men
by Hoss Hammond, editor of the Fre
mont Tribune, and L. D. Richards, both
of whom have been mixing political
medicine for many years. He first
wme Into state prominence in ISM.
when he was made treasurer of the
state committee and took an active
Irt in managing the campaign, in
1&9S he was state chairman, and in
1500 he made a successful race for na
tional committeeman against Editor
Mr. Richards is a big. bluff, warm
hearted man. Mr. Schneider Is slender
and the perfect type of the up-to-date
business man. He is cool and imper-
Unliable, but his piomineme is din
more to his iui-t persistency and
shtewdness than through his abil
ity to mix with all sorts and grades
of men. .Mr. Richards plays an
open hoard game. .Mr. Schneider not been known to renig, but
he holds his hands out of sight
while the deals are being played.
Fiemont has long been a republi
can stronghold. It is the home of a
number of very able and excellent
gentlemen who follow the blue and
gold ol republicanism. A harmoni-
1 ous unity of action between them
has been one of the seven politi
cal wonders of the state. But
the red Hag of war hangs out to
day, and the white dove of peace cow
ers unseen in her eerie cot. The two
political giants of the Dodge county
capital, Richards and Schneider, have
locked horns. Mr. Richards has es
poused the cause of Representative Dan
Swanson, who wants to be postmaster,
Mr. Schneider bears aloft the standard
of Ross Hammond, now postmaster,
who desires to be continued in that
comfortable position.
This, however, is but the outwatd
expression ol" an antagonism that dates
back to the tierce senatorial scramble
of last winter. Mr. Richards firmly be
lieves that he would today be Tnited
States senator if Mr. Schneider nad
not played him false. It needs no vio
lent exercise of the memory to recall
that for several weeks nine republi
can representatives withstood the pres
sure of their colleagues and from out
side to re-enter the republican caucus,
out of which they had walked because
D. K. Thompson, personally distaste
ful to them, was pretty certain to be
nominated. Mr. Thompson was nomi
nated, but still they remained recal
citrant. Tiie anti-Thompson combina
tion was led by able and astute poli
ticians, among them Mr. Schneider,
who is a close friend of President Hurt
of the Union Pacific, John N. Baldwin,
one of its principal attorneys, and Ben
T. White, general attorney of the Elk
horn. It was through their efforts that
the nine were kept out of the caucus
and around them the fight centered.
It speedily became apparent that so
long as they held to their resolution
not to permit any of the nine to vote
for Thompson, he could not be elected.
It was also apparent that if they would
consent to the nine voting for Thomp
son they could name the other senator.
On the contrary, if they held out to the
end and Thompson withdrew, it was
equally plain that Thompson would
name both of the senators.
Mr. Richards had been voted for now
and then during the session by Mr.
Swanson. Astute politician as he was
and is, he thought the time would come
when he could be made the Xorth
Platte senator. The time did come,
and he embraced the opportunity. He
saw Mr. White and Mr. Baldwin, both
friends of his. and they agreed. He
had for some time been impressed
with the idea that Mr. Schneider
had not been as loyal to his inter
ests at other times as he should
have been to the one who helped
create him politically, but he was
willing to wipe the slate clean if
Mr. Schneider would turn In and
help make him senator. Mr
Schneider was consulted. He was
told that the others had consented
and he, too. gave assent.
Mr. Swanson had been an em
ploye of Mr. Richards and still is.
He was sent to the Thompson head
quarters and told that the nine
were ready to come injo caucus
if Thompson would throw his
strength to Richards. Everybody
who spoke by the card was sum
moned and the matter was arranged.
Meanwhile, .jsays Mr. Richards, Mr.
Schneider went to White and Baldwin
and by his arguments and persuasions
induced them to recant and recall their
pledge to Richards. That ended it.
Swanson was sent back to tell the
Thompson men that it was all off. That
was when Mr. Richards swore venge
ance. He told his friends that if Mr.
Schneider had but told him when lie
asked him that Thompson was an In
superable objection he would not have
minded it so much.
Now Mr. Swanson had very frankly
said at various times during the legis
lative session that his vote was in Mr.
Schneider's keeping and that Mr.
Schneider had secured him the prom
ise of the oil inspectorship from Gov
ernor Dietrich. It was Schneider who
told him, when Dietrich said he could
not reward disloyalty to the caucus, to
take his old oil inspectorship. After
this avenue had been closed Mr. Swan
son was told he would be taken care of
in some other federal position. After
the session was over Mr. Schneider
tried to get him made an Indian In
spector, afterwards he tried for a post
ofiice inspectorship and still later for
inspector of rural free mail delivery.
He got neither. But he did get dis
couraged. He was being run up into
too many blind alleys and after a time
he made up his mind that he was not
to have anything.
Then it was that he went and told
his troubles to Mr. Richards. He was
told that Mr. Richards had no real
need of his services, and Swanson
asked him if he would help him gel
the postotflce. Richards told him that
he held no malice against him for
what had happened in the winter and
agreed to help him. He did. He se
cured for Swanson a splendid list of
endorsements, both from business men
and the county organization. Ross
Hammond had supposed that the post
office was to be his again. He was
rudely awakened by the appearance of
the Swanson petition. He started one
of his own, but soon found Swanson
had been ahead of him.
Mr. Schneider, who had espoused Mr.
Hammond's cause, was quick to see
that the day was lost unless finesse
could beat Swanson. He went down
and talked with Senator Millard. The
latter had all but told Mr. Richards
that Swanson would be named. Schnei
der returned home and summoned
Hammond and Swanson to his ollice.
There Swanson was told that Ham
mond did not want Hie n'fice particu
larly, but he did not want to be turned
down. He wanted to lie nominated
again as a vindication of the stand he
took last winter. The otfer was made
Swanson that if he would accept the
deputyship Hammond would place his
resignation as postmaster In Senator
Millard's hands to be accepted at the
end of a short term, when Swanson
was to move up and be made post
master. Swanson thought he saw In
this an opiMtrtuuity to make a cer
tainty of what was not yet sure, and
he signed it. after declining to go down
to Omaha anil arrange the matter with
the senator, a declination founded only
on the fact that he .lid not have time
that day.
Schneider and Hammond took the
next train to Omaha. Meanwhile
Swanson became uneasy and fearful
that he had f:ot done the right thing.
He could not find Mr. Richards, but
he ilid find Chairman Abbott and C. C.
McNish, close friends of Mr. Richards.
They told him that wnat he had done
was a virtual slap at Richards, be
cause it was in effett . shrewd shifting
of Schneider to secure th credit for
naming the postmaster. Swanson at
once wired Senator Millard repudiating
the agreement. The telegram reached
the senator while he was in conference
with Hammond and Schneider. He
threw up his hands In disgust and
anger over being played with, and
tersely told the gentlemen that the
subject would be dropped Tor the pres
ent. Then Mr. Schneider hied himself to
Washington, where he is putting in a
few plugs for Hammond. Mr. Rich
ards, It is understood, washed his
hands or the afTair after Swanson's
break, but the best opinion available
is that neither Hammond nor Swanson
will be named. But you can never
tell in politics.
The outcome will be interesting as
marking the extent of the influence of
the national committeeman in matters
of patronage. If he cannot name the
postmaster in his home town the poli
ticians and office-seekers are fairly
certain to take It as proof of his impotence.
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