Warren G.Harding, a Former President
In the 1890s Harding increased his social and business connections in Marion. He joined the Masons, the Elks, and other fraternal orders. He served as a director of the Marion County Bank, the Marion County Telephone Company, and Marion Lumber Company, and he was a trustee of the Trinity Baptist Church.
The influence of his newspaper, his public speaking ability, his friendly personality, and his interest in public affairs brought Harding to the attention of local and state politicians. He joined the state republican party, and in 1898 and 1900, Harding was elected to the Ohio state senate. By this time he had become friendly with Harry M. Daugherty, an influential lawyer and politician. In 1903 Daugherty helped get Harding elected lieutenant governor of Ohio. After serving a two-year term, Harding retired from politics until 1910, when he lost a campaign for governor.
In spite of this defeat, Harding remained well liked by republican politicians. In 1912 President William Howard Taft, a fellow Ohioan, asked Harding to nominate Taft at the republican National Convention for a second term as president. In the subsequent campaign, Harding vigorously attacked former president Theodore Roosevelt, who had left the party to run as the candidate of the Progressive party. The issue of party loyalty seemed to have been more important to Harding than the defeat of the democratic candidate, Woodrow Wilson.
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