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The Assassination of Governor William Goebel

Governor William Goebel was the only United States Governor ever to be assassinated while in office. His death was the result of a heated rivalry between himself and Governor William Taylor. William Goebel was a Democrat who was a proponent of women’s and African-American civil rights. He was not a well-liked man in many political circles and was even charged with the murder of another politician, John Stanford. However, he was acquitted of the charges.

During the 1899 Kentucky elections, Republican William Taylor beat Democratic William Goebel 193,714 to 191,331. However, the Democratic General Assembly suspected that the election had been rigged and therefore challenged it. Following the start of the appeal, Goebel received death threats. It was said that if he won the appeal, he would be killed.

On January 30, 1900, William Goebel walked up the steps of the State Capitol Building, escorted by bodyguards. A sniper shot him on the steps from the office of the Secretary of State. The wo…