George W. Joseph

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George W. Joseph (1872—1930) was a well-known maverick state senator in the 19-teens and '20s. He was a practicing attorney; in that role, he represented the estate of E. Henry Wemme, a wealthy businessman whose estate (in excess of $1 million) caused great conflict.

During the trial, Joseph accused the opposing attorney (Thomas Mannix) and the chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court (John Rand) of colluding in inappropriate business dealings; in retaliation, Joseph was disbarred. Seeking vindication, Joseph announced his candidacy for Governor; on a populist platform, and as the only candidate from either party who supported public ownership of hydroelectric dams that were under consideration, Joseph handily won the Republican nomination.

He died, however, before the general election. The Republican nominated in his place was an advocate of private hydroelectric development.

Joseph's law partner, Julius Meier, then announced his own candidacy as an independent, adopting Joseph's platform; Meier was elected, and is only one of two independents ever elected as governor of a state.

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