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Roy E. Ayers

john e ayers
Roy Elmer Ayers November 9, 1882 – May 23, 1955 was a US Democratic politician He served as a member of the United States House of Representatives and as the 11th Governor of Montana He was the first governor of Montana to be born in what would become the state of Montana1


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Death
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links


Ayers was born on a ranch near Lewistown in the Territory of Montana, and attended the rural schools in the area He attended Lewistown High School and graduated from the law department of Valparaiso University in 19032 He was admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice in Lewistown, He also became engaged in ranching and the raising of livestock On June 7, 1905 he married Ellen Simpson and the couple had three children3


Ayers served as attorney of Fergus County, Montana from 1905 to 1909, and Judge of the Tenth Judicial District of Montana from 1913 to 1921 During the First World War, Ayers served as chairman of the Fergus County Exemption Board4 He was the Justice of the State supreme court from January 1922 until his resignation on November 22, 1922, when he resumed ranching and the private practice of law in Lewistown In 1924, he ran for Governor of Montana, but lost in the Democratic primary to John E Erickson, who would later go on to win the general election Ayers challenged him in the primary again in 1928, and was defeated by less than a thousand votes by Erickson, who again won the general election

In 1932, Ayers was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Montana's 2nd congressional district, defeating Republican Congressman Scott Leavitt He was re-elected over Republican nominee Stanley Felt in 1934 in a landslide

Rather than seek re-election to a third term, Ayers opted to run for Governor in 1936, and narrowly defeated incumbent Governor Elmer Holt in the Democratic primary In the general election, he barely defeated former Lieutenant Governor of Montana Frank Hazelbaker, the Republican nominee During his administration, he oversaw the expansion of the state bureaucracy, signed a bill to give the governor new powers in directing state government, the state deficit was eliminated, and state bond interests were lowered5 When he ran for re-election in 1940, he only won the Democratic primary with a thin plurality, and was defeated in the general election by Sam C Ford, a former Montana Supreme Court Associate Justice He ran in the Democratic primary to challenge Ford in 1944, but came in third behind Leif Erickson and Austin B Middleton

He was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1920 and 1940, and to every State Democratic Convention from 1906 to 1940


After ending his political career, Ayers returned to ranching He died in Lewistown, Montana, and was interred at the Lewistown City Cemetery in 1955


  1. ^ "Former Governors of Montana" wwwnetstatecom Retrieved October 9, 2013 
  2. ^ "Montana Governor Roy Elmer Ayers" National Governors Association Retrieved August 24, 2012 
  3. ^ "Roy E Ayers" The Political Graveyard Retrieved October 9, 2012 
  4. ^ "Roy E Ayers" Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved October 9, 2012 
  5. ^ "Roy E Ayers" National Governors Association Retrieved October 9, 2012 

External linksedit

  • United States Congress "Roy E Ayers id: A000352" Biographical Directory of the United States Congress 
  • National Governors Association
  • Roy E Ayers at Find a Grave
  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • The Political Graveyard

US House of Representatives
Preceded by
Scott Leavitt
United States Representative for the 2nd Congressional District of Montana
Succeeded by
James F O'Connor
Political offices
Preceded by
Elmer Holt
Governor of Montana
1937 – 1941
Succeeded by
Sam C Ford

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Roy E. Ayers

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