Tuesday, May 8, 1945, saw one of the wildest
street demonstrations in downtown Newark history, as President Harry
Truman, in a 9 AM broadcast, announced the end of World War II in
On that same day of unbridled joy and excitement, as mandated by
State law, elections took place in Newark between the hours of 7
AM and 8 PM to elect five Newark city commissioners from a field
of 22 candidates.
The fifteen vote tabulators were locked in the County Clerk's office
after the polls closed at 8 PM, and remained there until the sealed
ballot boxes were opened.
The Five Election Winners
The five winners in the V-E Day election, and their vote tallies,
were: Mayor Vincent J. Murphy, 59,959 - John A. Brady, 52,188 -
Ralph A. Villani, 45,737 - John B. Keenan, 42,981 - and Meyer C.
All of those elected, with the exception of Ellenstein, were incumbents
running for re-election. Ellenstein was returned to the City Commission,
after having been defeated in the previous 1941 city commission
Ellenstein had earlier been Mayor of Newark for two four-year terms,
from 1933 to 1941. Following his election in 1945, he was awarded
the position of "Commissioner of Public Works."
Mayor Vincent J. Murphy, as the top vote-getter, retained his position
as Mayor of Newark for a second term.
In the field of 22 candidates, the five winners racked up a combined
total of 243,364 votes, a record.
This high tally was in sharp contrast with the City Commission
vote in 1941 of 132,483.
The Losing Candidates
The losing candidates in the field of 22 were: Neil J. Convery
- Anthony Giuliano - Samuel Klein - Frank S. Platta - Reginald Parnell
- Harry A. Pine - Thomas E. Durkin - Edward Fenina - Edward J. Ward
- Harry Grumbach - Peter T. Kerns - Charles Puro - Dr. Andrew V.
Morin - Eugene J. O'Mara - Theodore S. Miller Jr. - John Sheps -
and Leo Carlin.
A Losing Candidate Stand-Out
Among the losing-candidate stand-outs was Leo P. Carlin. In the
future 1953 City Commission election, Carlin would lead a field
of 26 candidates to become Newark's last mayor under the City Commission
form of government. He was chosen mayor unanimously by fellow commissioners.
In a future Newark referendum in 1954, Newark's city commission
form of government was changed to a new system, and in 1958, Carlin
would become Newark's first mayor 'elected' directly to the office
of mayor since 1915.
* * * * *
Some 1945 V-E Day Election Highlights
- Newark Police Chief Sebold assigned 250 policemen to the various
poling places during the hours that the voting poles were open.
- All bars in Newark were closed during the voting hours.
- Voting was moderate from 7 AM until the President's 9 AM broadcast
announcing that the war in Europe had ended.
- As celebrating street crowds, estimated at 25,000, gathered
on Broad Street, between the Four Corners and the National Newark
Building opposite the Prudential, office workers threw confetti
from office windows of Newark's tallest building. Much of that
confetti was torn election-campaign literature.
- Voting activity tapered during the President's broadcast, and
then mushroomed as store workers and war plant workers were dismissed
for the day and flocked to the polls.
- As heavy rain began to fall at noon, voting slowed and was virtually
at the same noon voting level as in the preceding 1941 city commission
election. It would later rise to record proportions.
* * * * *