Definitions for ward heeler

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word ward heeler

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

ward′ heel`er(n.)

  1. a minor politician who canvasses voters and does other chores for a political machine or party boss.

    Category: Government

Origin of ward heeler:

1885–90, Amer.

Freebase

  1. Ward heeler

    A ward heeler is an urban political operative who works to solidify political support in a political ward, usually in order to achieve an election result. A ward heeler may have controlling influence with a small clique in the ward organization of a political party. Often, ward heelers have been low-level operatives soliciting votes and performing campaign tasks on behalf of a political boss, including get-out-the-vote efforts, placing campaign signage, coordination of constituent support, etc. In many urban areas, ward heelers also serve as precinct captains. Ward heelers were a feature of Tammany Hall corrupt politics in the 19th century. Consequently, the term retained illicit connotations into the 20th century, particularly in urban political settings, though modern usage is more neutral. Petty examples of illegal acts which a ward heeler might do include tearing down an opposition party's posters or coordinating the retail buying of votes.

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