March of the Governors #24: Elmer Benson
We are unlikely to see a politician like Elmer Benson ever again. The small-town, left-wing banker served briefly as a US Senator before becoming governor. He was a genuine political radical who advocated replacing capitalism in Minnesota with a “cooperative commonwealth.” The first time he ran for governor of Minnesota in 1936, he won by a landslide. The next time, in 1938, he lost by a landslide. In between, he battled with the legislature, filled state jobs with Farmer-Labor party workers, and once endorsed an occupation of the state senate chambers by Farmer-Laborites demanding action. Benson lived a long life (1895-1985) and never repented of anything.