JOHN J. BLAINE was born in Wingville, Wisconsin. He attended what is now Valparaiso University in Indiana, graduating from the university’s law department in 1896. After being admitted to the Wisconsin Bar, he practiced law in Montfort before moving to Boscobel. He served as Mayor of Boscobel for three terms and as County Supervisor for four years. An early convert to progressivism, he supported Robert La Follette for Governor as a delegate to the Republican State Conventions of 1902 and 1904. In 1908 he was elected to the State Senate. In 1914 he ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor as a progressive independent, but won the election for Attorney general in 1918. In 1920 he was victorious in the gubernatorial race, and went on to win reelection twice more. During his tenure as governor, he was a spokesman for farmer-labor forces, and championed reduced state expenditures. In 1926, he won election to the U.S. Senate on an anti-prohibition platform. Defeated for renomination in 1932, he was appointed director of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation by President Franklin Roosevelt. He died of pneumonia the following year and was buried in Boscobel.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 26. New York: James T. White & Company.
Wisconsin Historical Society