Despite strong opposition, La Follette was able to pass progressive reforms as governor, with the help of a legislature that largely supported him. He called for reforms in several areas including tax reform, regulation of railroads (and other industries) which had become powerful in the state and rest of the country, and the implementation of a system of direct primaries in elections. As U.S. senator, some of the reforms he called for were passed including direct primaries, regulation of industries (by commissions of technical experts), and the adoption of a national income tax. He ran for President in 1924 as an independent and managed to garner five million votes. His staunch views always prevented him from gaining wide popularity but he was among the nation's foremost progressive leaders at the turn of the century.