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Ben Hulse


Picture of Ben Hulse
CA Blue Book (2000)
Date Party Office Votes Result
11-08-1932 Republican SD-39 7376 Win
11-07-1944 Republican SD-39 7855 Win
11-02-1948 Republican SD-39 9386 Win
11-04-1952 Republican SD-39 13626 Win

Candidate Biography:

Benjamin Harrison Hulse
Born: September 24, 1894 near Fayetteville, Arkansas
Married: Bessie Menser (m. 1919, div. 1935), Laura (m. 1937)
Military Service: ARMY
Died: March 2, 1961 in El Centro, CA

1925-1932: Member, Imperial County Board of Supervisors
1931-1941: President, Imperial County Fair
1936: Early Primary Candidate for SD-39 (Withdrew)
1938: Imperial County Chair, George J. Hatfield for Governor campaign
1955-1956: President pro Tempore, California State Senate

  • HISTORY: On September 15, 1917, a confrontation occurred in Calexico between Mexican governmental officials and Imperial County residents. At one point, a Mexican citizen named Octavio Flores tore a U.S. flag from Hulse's car in Calexico. Shortly after, Ben Hulse tore the Mexican flag from the car driven by the officials. Ben Hulse was later fined for his actions by an Imperial County Police Court. On September 20th, Colonel Esteban Cantu (Military Governor of the northern district of Baja California) sentenced Octavio Flores to death by firing squad "in an effort to stop alleged desecration of the American flag in Mexicali... and restore good feeling."
  • CRIME: On February 26, 1933, "An automobile assertedly driven by Senator Hulse crashed... into one driven by Jack Provine" in Pasadena, injuring both Provine and Ms. Naomi Pears. Hulse was charged with intoxicated driving and fleeing the scene. In April, the charges were downgraded to reckless driving and intoxication. Hulse pleaded guilty in June to a charge of failure to stop and render aid following an accident and was fined $90.
  • In March 1933, a recall petition against Hulse was circulated in Brawley alleging "Hulse is addicted to excessive use of intoxicating liquors and has brought shame and disgrace upon himself and humiliation to his constituents..." (Source: Petitions for Hulse Recall in Circulation, Healdsburg Tribune (3/21/1933)
  • In 1935, Bessie filed for divorce from Ben, claiming that he had deserted her. The divorce was granted, apparently the same year. In April 1936, Hulse announced that he would not be running for reelection to a second term in 1936. On December 3, 1936, exactly one month after the 1936 General Election, Bessie died in a mysterious house fire that "apparently started when she collapsed against the kitchen stove..." The article notes that the fire "swept the house" and describes the aftermath as "smoking ruins." (Source: "Senator's Divorced Wife Killed in Fire", San Bernardino Sun (12/3/1936) After eight years out of office, Hulse was reelected to the Senate in 1944.
  • PLACENAME: Ben Hulse Elementary School (Home of the Bengals) is located in Imperial.
  • PLACENAME: The Ben Hulse Highway (Highway 78) connects Brawley to the Pichacho State Recreation Area near the Arizona border.
  • PLACENAME: The Ben Hulse Auditorium was located at the Imperial County Fairgrounds from at least 1958 untill at least 1973. The building is now called the "Hulsienda Building" at the California Mid-Winter Fairgrounds.
  • ARCHIVE: A collection of items belonging to Hulse, including his desk, a political poster for his campaign, many photographs donated from his estate, certificates, resolutions, newspaper articles, and his scrap books are located at the Pioneers' Museum operated by the Imperial County Historical Society.

Source: California Blue Book (1946), (1950)
Source: Social Security Death Index (website).
Source: "MEXICAN TO FACE FIRING SQUAD FOR INSULT TO THE U.S.", Madera Mercury (9/28/1917)
Source: "Senator Held Hit-Run Charge", Madera Tribune (2/27/1933)
Source: "State Senator Fined In Court", San Bernardino Sun (6/7/1933)
Source: Ben Hulse: From Mountain Boy to State Senator by Peter R. Odens (1984)