Political Pandemonium

Richard C. Roberts and Richard W. Sadler
History of Weber County

After the war the voting in Weber County became mixed between Democrats and Republicans. On the state level, in 1948 J. Bracken Lee was elected as governor; Weber’s David J. Wilson ran for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican, losing to Democrat Walter K. Granger. In the 1952 elections, Republicans held a slight edge in the Weber County vote. They selected Dwight D. Eisenhower as president, Douglas Stringfellow as member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Earl J. Glade as governor. Glade was born in Weber County, but he did not have enough votes statewide to win the election over J. Bracken Lee, who won a second term. Stringfellow’s term was cut short by a major scandal–he made false claims about his military service during World War II. Stringfellow resigned after pressure was put on him by his Republican colleagues in Congress and Utah. In the election of 1954 Henry Aldous Dixon ran on the Republican ticket to replace Stringfellow. Dixon had served as president of Weber College and also as president of Utah State University. Dixon lost the Weber County vote in the election to Walter K. Granger but won the state vote and became a member of the House of Representatives.

In the 1954 election there was an important referendum on the ballot dealing with an issue created by the legislature and Governor J. Bracken Lee when they passed a law, Senate Bill 39, which would transfer Weber College, Snow College, and Dixie College out of state control back to the Mormon church. There was much opposition to this, especially in the college towns, and action was taken to override the legislation by a referendum vote of the people. After a hard campaign to get enough signatures on a petition to put the question on the ballot, the referendum was presented to the voters in the 1954 election. The referendum in favor of keeping the colleges under state control won by a vote of 137,389 in favor to 92,787 against, keeping the colleges under state jurisdiction. Weber County voters approved of keeping the college under state control by a vote of 22,879 in favor and 6,042 against. County residents felt that they had saved an important institution in the area.

In 1956 the Democrats were strong in Weber County. They won all the state-level offices and chose Alonso F. Hopkin, a Democrat, over Wallace F. Bennett for the U.S. Senate. Bennett, however, won in the statewide election. In this election Weber County supported Republican Henry Aldous Dixon for his second term in the House of Representatives. Weber County also cast most of its votes for Dwight D. Eisenhower for a second term over Adlai Stevenson. In the county Democrat L. Rulon Jenkins won the vote for the state senate, and Democrats J. Levi Beus, Elizabeth Vance, and Edward Larsen won in the state House of Representatives races. L.G. Bingham was the only Democrat to lose in this election; Fred Froerer won a local House seat in that contest by a vote of 3,802 to 2,931.