Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

1912 Nomination Eludes 'Champ' Clark; A Look Back; Woodrow Wilson Edges Missourian in Epic Battle at Democratic Convention

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

1912 Nomination Eludes 'Champ' Clark; A Look Back; Woodrow Wilson Edges Missourian in Epic Battle at Democratic Convention

Article excerpt

But for 172 votes and William Jennings Bryan's silver tongue, Harry S Truman probably wouldn't be the only president who hailed from Missouri.

James Beauchamp "Champ" Clark of Bowling Green, speaker of the U.S. House from 1911 to 1919, was Missouri's favorite son and the front-runner going into the 1912 Democratic National Convention at the Baltimore armory. It was an exhausting event that ran from June 25 until July 2, when Clark's support finally collapsed and his main rival, New Jersey Gov. Woodrow Wilson, was nominated on the 46th ballot.

One week before, Republicans had imploded in a disastrous convention in Chicago, where they renominated President William Taft over former president Theodore Roosevelt's vigorous objections. Roosevelt bolted and ran as an independent candidate, virtually assuring a Democratic victory in November.

Clark, born in Kentucky, moved to northeast Missouri at age 25 and got into local politics. He was elected to Congress in 1892 and became known as a folksy, powerful orator, diligent legislator and party organizer. Fellow Democrats made him minority leader in 1907 and speaker in 1911, after they won a House majority. Clark began angling for the White House.

His boosters sang a rewording of a popular ditty known as the "hound dog." The Missouri delegation arrived in Baltimore with a pack of 16 Ozark hounds. Clark men took to calling themselves "houn' dawgs."

Clark won the first ballot on June 28 with 440.5 delegates to Wilson's 324, with the remaining 323.5 split among seven also-rans. …

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