During the year of 1897 La Follette made a series of County Fair speeches aimed principally against machine politics and advocating a secret ballot primary election. These speeches were so effective that the opposing machine attempted to break up the crowds at the gatherings. A Democrat, B. J. Daly, said of one of the speeches, "That was the first time I had ever heard a man attack his own party. . .The speech made a profound and lasting impression. . .and convinced me of the man's perfect honesty."
Cf. Robert M. La Follette, by Belle Case La Follette, Vol. I, p. 121-124.