Nov 2, 2021 - Politics

On this day in 1920: 2 Ohioans run for president

Former U.S. president Warren G. Harding

Former U.S. president Warren G. Harding, left, elected in 1920, and former Ohio governor James M. Cox, his challenger. Photo: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

When voters went to the polls on Nov. 2, 1920, one thing was for certain: An Ohio newspaperman would become the next U.S. president.

What happened: On this date 101 years ago, Ohio's Warren G. Harding and James M. Cox squared off for the presidency.

  • Harding, a U.S. Senator and former lieutenant governor, owned the Marion Star newspaper.
  • Cox, the governor, owned the Dayton Daily News.

The result: Harding won the election backed by a 400,000-vote majority in Ohio.

  • He benefited from the Columbus Citizen and the Columbus Evening Dispatch promoting him as Ohio's most promising politician.

The intrigue: 1920 marks the only presidential election featuring two candidates with journalism backgrounds on the ballot.

  • Another fun fact: Future four-term president Franklin D. Roosevelt was Cox's running mate.

💭 Tyler's thought bubble: Cox shouldn't feel too bad about losing. His eponymous media company remains successful to this day and an Ohio Expo Center building is named in his honor.

✉️ Thanks to Axios Columbus newsletter subscriber Willem Meiners, author of a Dutch biography on Harding, for the tip.

Historical sign marking former U.S. president Warren G. Harding's birthplace
The birthplace of future President Warren Harding in the rural community of Blooming Grove, Ohio. Photo: Tyler Buchanan/Axios

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