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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 Years Ago in Spokane: Poindexter’s name discussed as Republican nominee for president

U.S. Sen. Miles Poindexter reportedly had plenty of backing to become the 1920 Republican presidential nominee. A Republican national committeeman said states in the South and West were lined up for the Spokane politician. (S-R archives)
U.S. Sen. Miles Poindexter reportedly had plenty of backing to become the 1920 Republican presidential nominee. A Republican national committeeman said states in the South and West were lined up for the Spokane politician. (S-R archives)

The chances seemed to be improving for a Spokane politician – U.S. Senator Miles Poindexter – to be the 1920 Republican presidential nominee

Poindexter “leads all the candidates today,” said Republican national committeeman S.A. Perkins.

“Before we go to the convention, we will have a solid lineup of the far Western states for Poindexter,” he said. “In addition, we will have a solid South for him. … Poindexter is the logical choice of the Republicans of the West and of the South, as well as that of the East. The East, of course, will look for a man from that section, but the West, for the first time, I predict, will make up and assert itself.”

Not quite.

Poindexter would eventually receive only 20 votes at the Republican National Convention and was not even the leading Westerner (that would be Hiram Johnson of California). Warren G. Harding of Ohio prevailed.

From the investigation file: No evidence was produced in a State Board of Control investigation that Charles Alexander, 17, was choked to death by an attendant at the State Custodial School at Medical Lake.

The case “fizzled,” said the Spokane Daily Chronicle, when several witnesses, who had supposedly seen the incident, failed to give any solid information about an alleged murder. One boy said he had no idea what caused Alexander’s death, and another said he didn’t even know Alexander was dead.

A third witness said he saw only other choking incidents. A fourth witness was a deaf mute, who could only convey by signs that someone had been choked and kicked, but could not specify who was choked, or where or when.

The board, said the Spokane Daily Chronicle, “did not sit as a whitewash committee, but went into every detail” before concluding that there was a lack of evidence.

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