Lynn Frazier for President
Lynn Frazier is well-known in North Dakota political history, elected as the NPL candidate for governor in 1916 and winning reelection in 1918 and 1920. Early in 1920 there even reports from NPL organizers and newspapers about Frazier running for president. He failed to qualify for his party’s nomination in neighboring South Dakota, but on this date, a possible presidential bid was still a topic of conversation.
A Chicago man, Carl Thompson, was reportedly in charge of the campaign on a national level. Martin Blank, a league newspaper employee, was put in charge of the campaign in North Dakota. However, he had a checkered past – he had previously escaped to Minnesota because of a criminal libel warrant filed against him in North Dakota. He had since surrendered to authorities and was facing charges.
In February, The Fargo Courier News, an NPL-driven newspaper wrote: "As the voters of North Dakota approach the presidential primary their disgust with the prospect of being compelled to choose between such an array of candidates as General Wood 'Pullman' Lowden, Senator Poindexter, Senator Harding, and such like aspirants for the presidential nomination becomes acute. They cannot be blamed, therefore, for feeling more and more strongly that the choice of North Dakota should rest upon our own Governor Frazier."
The newspaper mentioned that Frazier "brought North Dakota thru the turmoil of the war with less disorder than any other state," and that "Governor Frazier is an American of the old variety who believes in the kind of Americanism that was preached by Washington and Jefferson and Lincoln. He has permitted no Prussianism in North Dakota and there has been no 'red' arrests here.
"In the meantime, he is needed in North Dakota. His work here is not completed. ... Governor Frazier's work in North Dakota is far too important at this time to permit us even to think of drafting him for the presidential primaries" – for now.
Thus spoke the official mouthpiece of the NPL, as an unimpressed Bismarck Tribune reported: "outside of the paper's own office, nothing but ridicule has greeted this propaganda."
Of course Frazier's political career did not end there. In 1921, he was recalled from office and replaced by Ragnvald Nestos. Shortly thereafter, he did make it to Washington. He won election to the U.S. Senate and held that office from 1923 through 1941.
It is of note that Warren Harding, one of the candidates the Fargo Courier News seemed unimpressed with, became the 34th president in November of that year.
Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker
Bismarck Tribune, January 8, 1920, p1; Feb. 6, 1920