He expressed himself plainly during the canvass on the questions of slavery and the bank, at the same time voting, perhaps with a touch of bravado, for a bill offered in 1836 to subject abolition literature in the mails to the laws of the several states.
It was not, however, until 1896, when he personally managed the canvass that resulted in securing the Republican presidential nomination for William McKinley at the St Louis Convention (at which he was a delegate), that he became known throughout the United States as a political manager of great adroitness, tact and resourcefulness.
In the November election after a canvass that almost equalled in activity that of 1896 he was again defeated, receiving only 155 electoral votes to 292.
He would not canvass, nor pay agents to canvass for him, nor would he engage to attend to the local business of the constituency.
The third charge, that of ambitus (illegalities committed during his canvass for the consulship), was consequently dropped; Gabinius went into exile, and his property was confiscated.
The tone of the canvass was one of unusual bitterness, amounting sometimes to actual ferocity.