Warren G. Harding Wednesday: Front Porch Campaign

harding house
Why bother leaving home just to campaign to be President of the United States?  Warren G. Harding conducted the majority of his three-month presidential campaign right from his front porch in Marion, Ohio.  Crowds would come from all over to be part of the spectacle, on some days doubling the population of the small town of 29,000.


The more typical method of campaigning at the time was the same as it is now, where the candidate travels from town to town delivering speeches.  Harding’s opponent, James Cox, did just this.  Even so, front porch campaigns weren’t unheard of.  James Garfield (1880), Benjamin Harrison (1888) and William McKinley (1896) all became President after successful front porch campaigns.  While front porch campaigns still occasionally occur for local or regional candidates, Harding was the last US President to run a front-porch campaign.

The whole town of Marion took part in the festivities.  Local volunteers helped direct the crowds, and Harding’s neighbors were encouraged to open their homes to the visitors.  Harding’s next door neighbors even temporarily relocated during the campaign so that their home could be used as the Republican National Headquarters!  All these efforts contributed to the the idea of Harding as a simple man from a small town, and help ensure his landslide victory.

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