I came across this tidbit while exploring yet another database of historical newspapers (Elephind for those who are interested). In the morning edition of The Saint Paul Daily Globe for Monday, October 27, 1890, the candidates for the state legislature were named. The candidates represented a total of four political parties (with the exception of three candidates running as independent):
Joseph Askew was listed as the Alliance candidate for representative of the 53rd State District of Minnesota. He was running against W. R. Baumbach of the Republican party and T. R. Foley of the Democratic party.
This district was larger than the above county list makes it sound, as in 1890, Itasca County included all of Koochiching County, and Cass County extended west into part of modern Beltrami County and south into part of what is now Crow Wing County. The 53rd District of 1890 is highlighted in blue on an 1887 map of Minnesota, below:
According to the Minnesota Legislators Past and Present database offered by the State of Minnesota, Democrat Thomas R. Foley won the election that year. Foley, a native of Maine who immigrated to Minnesota in 1879, was about 15 years younger than Joseph. Foley was a hotel proprietor when elected, and it’s interesting to note that Joseph built his first hotel, the Arlington Hotel in Menahga, just a few months later, in the Spring of 1891.
The Alliance Party, also known as the Farmers’ Alliance, Minnesota Farmers’ Alliance, the Northern Alliance, the People’s Party, or the Populists, was an organized, but decentralized, agrarian movement concerned with agricultural and social reform. Declining wheat and livestock prices in the mid-1880s fueled the popularity of the movement in Minnesota, and the 1890 election marked the apex of the party’s influence. In 1891, divisions within the Alliance led to the formation of the Populist Party, and the original Alliance Party faded into the background shortly thereafter. Joseph Askew continued his political aspirations with the Populist Party, as documented in this editorial exchange from February, 1891.