All About Richland

It Happened In Mansfield: Opposing Candidates For Governor Met By Chance On A Street Corner

28 Jun , 2022  

By 1812Blockhouse

It’s entirely possible that Governor Mike DeWine and Nan Whaley have run into each other during the current campaign for Ohio Governor.

Almost 112 years ago, however, politicians from differing parties may not have had many opportunities to have conversations while running for the same elective office. Such was the case, however, when two men’s paths crossed on a downtown Mansfield street corner in the early fall of 1910.

On September 24 of that year, Warren G. Harding of Marion, a former Lieutenant Governor and future President of the United States, arrived in Mansfield to engage in a series of meetings and speeches  concerning his candidacy as the Republican nominee to Governor of Ohio. 

At one point in the day, Harding was walking from the Vonhof Hotel, where he was staying, to visit a family friend who lived in Mansfield. As he made it to the corner of West Third and North Main, he observed a car approaching from the opposite direction, which happened to be on its way from the Southern Hotel on the Square to Union Depot. The car slowed and a man exited the car and walked in Harding’s direction.

The man was Judson Harmon (pictured), then Governor of Ohio and the Democratic nominee for reelection.

According to historians, the two chatted for at least ten minutes about anything but the campaign. Topics included the weather, the merits of the monopland and bi-plane as means of transportation, and about the probable outcome of the World Series between the Philadelphia Athletics and the Chicago Cubs (Philadelphia would win in five games).

According to newspaper coverage of the day, it was an impressive sight. “People who claimed to be in the vicinity at the time had the opportunity of seeing the first meeting of the opposing candidates during the present campaign and many comments were heard on the fine physical appearance of both gentlemen, either of whom is well up to the “six-footer” class, with build in proportion,” the News Journal reported.

The two candidates were evenly matched. Harmon won in September with 51.61% of the vote.

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