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Frank John Lausche

55th & 57th Governor of Ohio
In office
January 8, 1945 – January 13, 1947
January 10, 1949 – January 3, 1957
Lieutenant George D. Nye (1945–1947, 1949–1953)
John W. Brown (1953–1957)
Preceded by John W. Bricker (1945)
Thomas J. Herbert (1949)
Succeeded by Thomas J. Herbert (1947)
John W. Brown (1957)

In office
January 3, 1957 – January 3, 1969
Preceded by George H. Bender
Succeeded by William B. Saxbe

Born November 14, 1895(1895-11-14)
Cleveland, Ohio
Died April 21, 1990 (aged 94)
Cleveland, Ohio
Political party Democratic

Frank John Lausche (November 14, 1895 – April 21, 1990) was a Democratic politician from Ohio. He served as the 47th mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, as the 55th and 57th Governor of Ohio, and as a United States Senator from Ohio for two terms (1957–1969).


Lausche was born in Cleveland. His family originates from Slovenia. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War I, he returned to law school, graduating from the John Marshall School of Law in 1920. Lausche served as Municipal Court judge from 1932 to 1937 and Common Pleas Court judge from 1937 to 1941, before winning election as Mayor of Cleveland in 1941. He served until 1944, when he first won election as Governor of Ohio, becoming the state's first Catholic governor. Lausche served as governor from 1945 to 1947, when he narrowly lost to Thomas J. Herbert. Lausche defeated Herbert in a 1948 rematch, however, serving from 1949 to 1957. He was reelected as Governor in 1952, defeating Cincinnati Mayor Charles Phelps Taft II, and 1954, defeating state Auditor Jim Rhodes, who later became Governor himself. Lausche resigned in early 1957, having won election to the United States Senate in 1956, unseating incumbent Republican George Bender.

In his first term, with the Senate almost evenly split, Lausche gave Senate Democratic leader Lyndon B. Johnson a scare by hinting that he might vote for Republican William F. Knowland for Senate Majority Leader, although he ultimately did not. Throughout his career, Lausche displayed a bipartisan and independent approach to politics, being known by some as a "Democrat with a small 'd'", but his approach to ethnic Democratic politics paved the way for followers such as Ralph S. Locher, who became Mayor of Cleveland and later an Associate Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, and Bronis Klementowicz, a leader of Cleveland City Council and law director under Locher. Lausche's independence also earned him, among some, the derisive moniker, "Frank the Fence." Some nicknames attributed to him were derisive and even scatological. Among them included "Frank J. Lousy" and "Frank J. Laushit." Lausche was easily re-elected to the Senate in 1962, but was defeated in his bid for renomination in 1968, due to his loss of labor union support. He lost Democratic primary by John J. Gilligan by a 55% to 45% margin, and in the general election, Lausche refused to support Gilligan, who went on to lose the general election to then-state Attorney General William B. Saxbe.

Lausche was a very popular, plain-spoken, big-city politician of the old school. He was credited with building a coalition of ethnic voters in Cleveland known as the "cosmopolitan Democrats." There is some evidence that Republican presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, considered asking Lausche to become his running mate.

The State of Ohio's office building in Cleveland, Ohio is named after Lausche. In 2005, James E. Odenkirk authored the book, Frank J. Lausche: Ohio's Great Political Maverick, an in-depth look at Lausche's political career. In the early 1990s, Ohio's Lincoln, a rather hagiographic portrayal of Lausche was published.

See also

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Edward J. Blythin
Mayor of Cleveland
1942 – 1945
Succeeded by
Thomas A. Burke
Preceded by
John W. Bricker
Governor of Ohio
1945 – 1947
Succeeded by
Thomas J. Herbert
Preceded by
Thomas J. Herbert
Governor of Ohio
1949 – 1957
Succeeded by
John William Brown
United States Senate
Preceded by
George H. Bender
United States Senator (Class 3) from Ohio
1957 – 1969
Served alongside: John W. Bricker, Stephen M. Young
Succeeded by
William B. Saxbe


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