Election 1944: Bricker and Ohio (8-30-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (August 30, 1944)


Background of news –
Bricker and Ohio

By Bertram Benedict

Republicans are hoping that their nomination of Governor Bricker of Ohio for the Vice Presidency will help to carry the Buckeye State for the GOP in November.

No Vice President has ever been elected from Ohio. In fact, only two major party nominees for the Vice Presidency prior to 1944 have been Ohioans, both Democrats – George H. Pendleton, defeated in 1864, and Allen G. Thurman, defeated in 1888.

Ohio has 25 votes in the Electoral College, the same number as California, and fewer only than the electoral votes of three other states – New York (47), Pennsylvania (35), Illinois (28). In the only close election (in electoral votes) in the last 60 years, that of 1916, Ohio went Democratic by 90,000 votes out of 1,164,000 cast. If Charles Evans Hughes, the Republican nominee, had carried Ohio, he would have defeated President Wilson for reelection.

‘As Ohio goes, so goes nation’

If recent precedent be any guide, Governor Dewey and Governor Bricker will win the election if they carry Ohio. Ohio is the only state in the Union which has voted the same way as the whole country in every presidential election since 1892, so that it may well be said: “As Ohio goes, so goes the Nation.”

Prior to 1940, the Buckeye State shared that distinction with North Dakota, but in the last election North Dakota voted for Mr. Willkie.

Moreover, Ohio in recent elections has given the winning presidential candidate approximately the same percentage of its major party vote as his national percentage:

Ohio U.S.
1940 (Roosevelt) 52% 55%
1936 (Roosevelt) 61% 62%
1932 (Roosevelt) 61% 59%
1928 (Hoover) 63% 59%

Republicans can be hopeful about Ohio in November because the state has shown an increasing Republican trend since 1936. In that year, it went for Mr. Roosevelt by 620,000 and chose a Democrat (Martin Davey) for Governor over Attorney General John W. Bricker. But in 1938, Mr. Bricker won over a Democrat (Sawyer) by 118,000. In 1940, Mr. Bricker was reelected over Mr. Davey by 365,000, and in 1942 over Democrat McSweeney by 377,000.

In 1932, Ohio chose a Democrat for Senator by 166,000 and in 1934 another Democrat by 437,000. But in 1938, Ohio sent a Republican, Robert A. Taft, to the Senate by 170,000 and in 1940 another Republican, Harold H. Burton, by 145,000.

Republican trend shown

The Ohio delegations in the House of Representatives also show a Republican trend:

Republicans Democrats
1934 6 18
1936 2 22
1938 15 9
1940 12 12
1942 20 3

The present membership in the upper branch of the Ohio Legislature is 28 Republicans, five Democrats; in the lower branch, 111 Republicans, 25 Democrats.

However, the Democrats may take some comfort from the above compilation because Ohio seems to have been less pro-Republican in the years between. It will be noticed that the Democrats did better in 1936 and 1940 than in 1938 and 1942. Ohio gave Mr. Roosevelt a majority of 146,000 in 1940 while electing Mr. Bricker governor by 365,000.

The only defeated vice-presidential candidate in recent years who carried his own state was Joseph T. Robinson of Arkansas in 1928.