Early Political Career
In 1890, Hayes joined the People's Party, of which he was a member until 1896. Hayes then joined the Socialist Labor Party of America (SLP), serving as the Secretary of Section Cleveland, SLP. He left the SLP during the split of the anti-Daniel DeLeon and pro-American Federation of Labor dissident faction headed by Henry Slobodin and Morris Hillquit in 1899. Although Hayes was a vocal opponent of Samuel Gompers in the AF of L, he nevertheless was even more opposed to the SLP's Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance (ST&LA), which he believed to be sectarian and destructive.
In 1900 Hayes was nominated for Vice President of the United States by the Hillquit faction in 1900, but withdrew in favor of the candidacy of Job Harriman in a unity ticket that brought together the former-SLP dissidents with the Chicago-based Social Democratic Party of America of Eugene V. Debs and Victor L. Berger. Hayes was a Social Democratic Party candidate for U.S. Congress in that year.
Hayes was one of five members of the "Springfield SDP," joining a like number from the Chicago organization, named to a special committee in charge of preparations for the August 1901 Joint Unity Convention from which the Socialist Party of America was born.
In the 1902 campaign, Hayes stood as the Socialists' candidate for Ohio Secretary of State.
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