About Irvine Luther Lenroot
Irvine Luther Lenroot (January 31, 1869 – January 26, 1949) was a member of the United States Republican Party (GOP) who served in the House of Representatives from 1909 to 1918, and in the United States Senate from 1918 to 1927, for the state of Wisconsin. He was also Warren G. Harding's personal preference for Vice President of the United States in 1920, but the delegates chose instead to nominate Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge. Had Lenroot won the nomination, he, rather than Coolidge, would have become the 30th President of the United States upon Harding's death in 1923.
Lenroot was born in Superior, Wisconsin in 1869 and began practicing law in 1898. He served as a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1901 to 1907, and as Speaker of the Assembly from 1903 to 1907. He became a United States Senator in 1918 when he was elected in a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the death on October 17, 1917 of Paul O. Husting.
The 1920 Republican Convention
Senator Lenroot attended the 1920 Republican National Convention at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago, and after the selection of Harding as the GOP nominee for president, GOP leaders decided that the progressive Lenroot would be a balance to a ticket with the more conservative Harding. By June 12, a Saturday night, many of the delegates had gone home, along with most of the party bosses. After Lenroot's name had been placed in nomination and seconded, but before a vote could be taken, an Oregon delegate, Wallace McCamant, nominated Coolidge for vice-president. Unfettered by party bosses, the delegates weighed in for Coolidge, who received 674 votes to Lenroot's 146 and won on the first ballot.
He was re-elected in 1920, in the most competitive race for a Republican senator in the nation, receiving 41.6% of the vote in a competition with strong independent, Democrat and Socialist candidates. Independent James Thompson came in second place with 34.7%. He ran for the United States Senate again in 1926, but lost the Republican primary to John J. Blaine.
He was appointed a judge of the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals by President Herbert Hoover in 1929, and served there until his retirement in 1944. He married Clara Clough, of Superior, Wisconsin, who wrote a short memoir of her girlhood in Wisconsin in the 1860s and 1870s. His daughter, Katharine Lenroot, was known for successfully lobbying for the Fair Labor Standards Act, and in regulating enforcement of child labor laws.
Lenroot died in Washington on January 26, 1949, five days short of his 80th birthday and was buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Superior, Wisconsin. The Associated Press report of his death began, "Former Senator Irvine L. Lenroot of Wisconsin, the man who might have been the 30th President of the United States, died Wednesday night."