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The 1920 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States nominated Ohio Senator Warren G. Harding for President and Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge for Vice President. The convention was held in Chicago, Illinois, at the Chicago Coliseum from June 8 to June 12, 1920.

Many other Republicans sought the nomination, including US Army general Leonard Wood, Illinois Governor Frank Lowden and California Governor Hiram Johnson. Dark horse Harding was nominated at the convention, however. Many wanted to nominate Wisconsin Senator Irvine Lenroot for Vice President, but Coolidge was nominated instead, because he was known for the Boston police strike in 1919.

Republican candidates:

On June 8, the Republican National Convention met in Chicago. The race was wide open, and soon the convention deadlocked between General Leonard Wood and Governor Frank O. Lowden of Illinois.

Others placed in nomination included Senators Warren G. Harding of Ohio, Hiram Johnson of California, and Miles Poindexter of Washington, Governor Calvin Coolidge of Massachusetts, Herbert Hoover, and Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler. Senator Robert M. La Follette, Sr. of Wisconsin was not formally placed in nomination but received the votes of his state delegation, nonetheless. Harding was nominated for President on the tenth ballot, after some voting shifted in their allegiance. The ten ballots went like this:

Presidential Balloting, RNC 1920
Ballot 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Before shifts 10 After shifts
Warren G. Harding 65.5 59 58.5 61.5 78 89 105 133 374.5 644.7 692.2
Leonard Wood 287.5 289.5 303 314.5 299 311.5 312 299 249 181.5 156
Frank Lowden 211.5 259.5 282.5 289 303 311.5 311.5 307 121.5 28 11
Hiram Johnson 133.5 146 148 140.5 133.5 110 99.5 87 82 80.8 80.8
William C. Sproul 84 78.5 79.5 79.5 82.5 77 76 76 78 0 0
Nicholas Murray Butler 69.5 41 25 20 4 4 2 2 2 2 2
Calvin Coolidge 34 32 27 25 29 28 28 30 28 5 5
Robert M. La Follette 24 24 24 22 24 24 24 24 24 24 24
Jeter C. Pritchard 21 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Miles Poindexter 20 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 14 2 0
Howard Sutherland 17 15 9 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Herbert C. Hoover 5.5 5.5 5.5 5 6 5 4 5 6 10.5 9.5
Scattering 11 9 7 9 9 9 6 6 5 5.5 3.5

Harding's nomination, said to have been secured in negotiations among party bosses in a "smoke-filled room," was engineered by Harry M. Daugherty, Harding's political manager who after Harding's election became United States Attorney General. Prior to the convention, Daugherty was quoted as saying, "I don't expect Senator Harding to be nominated on the first, second, or third ballots, but I think we can afford to take chances that about 11 minutes after two, Friday morning of the convention, when 15 or 12 weary men are sitting around a table, someone will say: 'Who will we nominate?' At that decisive time, the friends of Harding will suggest him and we can well afford to abide by the result." Daugherty's prediction described essentially what occurred, but historians Richard C. Bain and Judith H. Parris argue that Daugherty's prediction has been given too much weight in narratives of the convention.

Once the presidential nomination was finally settled, the party bosses and Sen. Harding recommended Wisconsin Sen. Irvine Lenroot to the delegates for the second spot, but the delegates revolted and nominated Coolidge, who was very popular over his handling of the Boston Police Strike of the year before. The Tally:

Vice Presidential Balloting, RNC 1920
Calvin Coolidge 674.5
Irvine L. Lenroot 146.5
Henry J. Allen 68.5
Henry Anderson 28
Asle J. Gronna 24
Hiram Johnson 22.5
Jeter C. Pritchard 11
Abstaining 9

Source for convention coverage: Richard C. Bain and Judith H. Parris, Convention Decisions and Voting Records (Washington DC: Brookings Institution, 1973), pp. 200-208.

References

Preceded by
1916
Chicago, Illinois
Republican National Conventions Succeeded by
1924
Cleveland, Ohio
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