ew York, a Democratic reformer who had battled against Tammany Hall and the Tweed Ring. Honest government was apparently the electorate’s highest priority. When the returns came in, Tilden had clearly won the pop-ular vote and seemed likely to win a narrow victory in the electoral college. But the result was placed in doubt when the returns from the three southern states still controlled by the Republicans—South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana—were contested. If Hayes were to be awarded these three states, plus one contested electoral vote in Oregon, Republican strategists realized, he would triumph in the electoral college by a single vote.