A month out, who were the dark horses for the Republican and Democratic nominations of 1920?
According to this article, here were some potential surprise candidates to keep an eye on… and how each of their fortunes turned out.
Pennsylvania Senator Philander C. Knox. Never officially receiving any votes for the nomination, Knox was seen as a potential compromise candidate. A subsequent New York Times article a month later explained why he didn’t get the nomination:
Various objections to Mr. Knox as a Presidential candidate were raised. He was too old. It was said that he was not in good health. He had voted against woman suffrage and for prohibition. He was from a State that did not need a favorite son at the head of the Presidential ticket to keep it in the Republican Party. And the Knox boom died then and there.
“He was not in good health” proved prescient. Knox died about a year and a half later, in October 1921, at the age of 68.
(Yes, his first name was actually Philander.)
Pennsylvania Governor William Cameron Sproul. Sproul ranked fourth on the initial ballot, the closest he came. He was actually offered the vice presidency, but declined — yet would have become president had he accepted, because Warren Harding died in office.
Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge. Coolidge ranked seventh in the initial ballot, coming as close as sixth in subsequent ballots. Later nominated for vice president. Coolidge became president himself upon Harding’s death.
Kansas Governor Henry Justin Allen. Allen never actually received any votes for the nomination. He would later become a U.S. senator from Kansas.
Vice President Thomas R. Marshall. Marshall ranked sixth in the initial ballot, coming as close as fifth in subsequent ballots. Marshall came exceptionally close to becoming president himself while serving as vice president, due to President Wilson’s stroke which left him almost incapacitated. Marshall spent his post-veep years quietly, returning to private law practice in his native Indiana.
Virginia Senator Carter Glass. Glass ranked 10th in the initial ballot, coming as close as sixth in subsequent ballots. Today, he ranks #31 all time for tenure in Congress, serving for more than 42 years.
Democratic National Committee Chair Homer S. Cummings. Cummings ranked 11th in the initial ballot, coming as close as seventh in subsequent ballots. He would later serve as FDR’s attorney general.
Secretary of Agriculture Edwin T. Meredith. Meredith ranked ninth in the initial ballot, the closest he came. Honestly, not much happened to him after this.
‘Dark Horses’ in the Coming Presidential Campaign: Chances of Knox, Sproul, Allen, Coolidge, Capper and Other Republicans at Chicago — Democratic Contingencies Include Carter Glass, Cummings, Colby, Meredith, Marshall, Houston, Baker and Daniels
Published: Sunday, May 9, 1920