Theodore Roosevelt Elected Governor of New York

On leaving the Army, Roosevelt was elected governor of New York in 1898 as a Republican.

He made such a concerted effort to root out corruption and "machine politics" that Republican boss Thomas Collier Platt forced him on McKinley as a running mate in the 1900 election, against the wishes of McKinley's manager, Senator Mark Hanna.

Capitalizing on his popularity, Roosevelt ran for governor of New York. Republican leaders knew of his reform tendencies, but pushed his nomination as a means to overcome a recent history of corruption on the state level.

In November 1898, Roosevelt was elected by a narrow margin. He showed typical vigor in Albany and, as feared, alienated political boss Thomas Platt by pushing through a new tax on corporate franchises. His efforts at moderate reforms included a number of conservation measures and improvements in public education.

In 1900, Platt and other New York Republicans urged President McKinley to take Roosevelt as his running mate; the previous vice president had died in office and Platt was anxious to be rid of the hard-charging governor.

At that time boss rule was at its very zenith...In each case I did my best to persuade Mr. Platt not to oppose me...It was only after I had exhausted all the resources of my patience that I would finally, if he still proved obstinate, tell him that I intended to make the fight anyhow.”

— Theodore Roosevelt