Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

William Randolph's Hearse

Fling with Politics

As the 20th century arrived and Hearst was continuing his string of newspaper and magazine acquisitions, he was also becoming a political force. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1903 to 1907, even though he rarely showed up for Congressional sessions and was proud of not doing so. On those occasions when he did, he could be brutal. Speaking on the House floor, he once accused a colleague who had attacked him of sanctioning a murder at a bar he owned in the Boston area. It was soon learned that the bar was owned by the congressman's father and the death Hearst accused his colleague of sanctioning had been ruled an accident. As many had witnessed from his years of waving the bloody shirt on behalf of Cuban rebels and other causes, Hearst was never shy about stretching the truth. Or abusing the information gathered by his reporters.

Hearst unsuccessfully sought the presidential nomination as a Democrat in 1900 and 1904, the mayor's office in New York City in 1905, and the governor's office of New York State in 1906. His gubernatorial defeat to Charles Evans Hughes put an end to his political aspirations and he left the U.S. House the following year.

Always at the center of controversy, Hearst took a lot of heat when two of his writers, in separate pieces, hinted that President McKinley should be assassinated. When that actually happened in September 1901, many people blamed Hearst, despite the fact that the convicted assassin never read any of the Hearst newspapers.

In 1903, Hearst married Millicent Willson, a theatrical performer, in New York City. The couple had five sons: George, William Randolph Jr., John, and twins Randolph and David, most of whom also went into some phase of the business.

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