CBS Shows Who Won NY 9th in the ‘1920 Republican Landslide’

Andrew Petersen. That’s the last Republican to win New York’s 9th Congressional District. CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley provided that bit of trivia, and displayed a picture of him, on Wednesday night as he relayed how Petersen was “swept into office in the 1920 Republican landslide...”

Scott Pelley announced:

It's been so long, we wondered about the last Republican to win that seat so we cracked the history books and we found that he was Andrew Petersen, swept into office in the 1920 Republican landslide that put Warren G. Harding into the White House.

A Tuesday New York Times blog posting offered a little more about Petersen, “a Danish-born manufacturer of ornamental iron products” who “toppled freshman Representative David J. O’Connell.” Sam Roberts continued:

Mr. Petersen’s victory was widely credited to the long coattails of the Republican presidential nominee, Warren G. Harding, who swamped the Democrat, James M. Cox.

Once in office, Mr. Petersen, perhaps beginning a tradition in the district, had his own brush with scandal. On a 1923 fact-finding tour in Panama, he and another congressman donned sailors’ uniforms and were detained in a cabaret for being ashore past the 11 p.m. curfew.

The district straddles the Brooklyn-Queens border as it did then (in 1920 it included Bushwick and East New York in Brooklyn and Ozone Park in Queens), but the precise boundaries shifted every decade.

Regardless of the shape and of which party controlled legislative redistricting, no Republican has carried the Ninth since Mr. Petersen won with about 53 percent of the vote nearly a century ago.

Mr. O’Connell, a Brooklyn-born publisher who defeated a Republican in a 1918 squeaker, won the seat back two years later.

Mr. Petersen died in 1953 at the age of 83 in East Rockaway on Long Island...

Back then, terms for the President, Members of Congress and Senators began and ended in March.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center