Walsh Blocks Coup By Baird In Freeholders

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Camden Courier-Post January 2, 1940

PROCEEDINGS OFF TILL NEXT MONDAY

By A. Charles Corotis

An attempted coup by David Baird in his drive to rebuild his fallen fences for the primary election next May was frustrated yesterday by one lone freeholder, and the baby member of the board, at that.

Edmund A. Walsh elected from Camden’s Eighth Ward to fill the unexpired term of the late Ferdinand J. Larkin, foiled Baird’s well laid plans when he refused to attend the annual organization meeting after the Republican League bloc of freeholders had been maneuvered into a position of agreeing to support James W. Wood, Baird satellite, for director.

A spokesman for the League group said the agreement was nullified, however, by yesterday’s adjournment.

Walsh’s loyalty to City Commissioner Mary W. Kobus, long-time political foe of Baird, had the effect of stalemating the 1940 organization, the last under the large board, since the Democrats, upon learning of the G.O.P. decision to support Wood, bolted the meeting room.

“Refused to Sell Out”

Walsh took the stand that to vote for Wood would be to sell out to Baird. Walsh was ready and willing to vote for any other Republican. At no time was he for a Democrat.

The 20 Republican freeholders present could have transacted business and elected Wood if they had gone into session, but Walsh’s refusal to be a party to the Baird-Wood scheme left only 19 freeholders willing to meet, and that number is one short of the quorum required by law.

When shortly after 5:00 PM — five hours after the statutory time for reorganization — there was no indication that wither Walsh or the Democrats would return. Wood, J. Alfred Beck, president of the Republican league, and Maurice Bart, floor leader for the Democrats, conferred and agreed to adjourn until next Monday.

Price Furnishes Surprise

Walsh emphasized that he favors Republican organization of the board and agreed to support any Republican for director except Wood. These are the sentiments of Mrs. Kobus. Too, it was the stand of the Republican League until at yesterday’s joint conference of the three G.O.P. factions the group headed by Raymond G. Price cast its lot with Wood. This in itself was a major surprise of the day, since Price and Edward J. Quinlan both elected with Kobus support had been considered anti-Baird-ites.


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