CANTON– Ohio has been home to eight United States Presidents and on Presidents Day 2013 continues to play a critical role in electing the nations leader to office.
In recent elections, no U.S. President has been elected without winning Ohio.
“We should be very proud that so many presidents have come from Ohio. As we know from the recent election, it’s still a very, very important state when it comes to the presidential elections,” said Chris Kenney of the McKinley Library and Museum in Canton.
The museum, also home to a local historical collection and other exhibits, was packed on this Presidents Day.
A good time to help educate people about the 25th president who held office in 1900, at the turn of the century.
“He’s not one of the more well-known presidents, but he was a president who carried us into the modern day, if you will. A lot of the issues that we are still dealing with today are something that were first brought up during the McKinley administration,” said Kenney.
McKinley was born in Niles, but later made his home in Canton where he practiced law and was first elected to congress.
His may have been the first presidency to have moments recorded on moving pictures thanks to his association with another Ohioan, Thomas Edison.
McKinley did a lot of his campaigning from the front porch of his Canton home, but Kenney says he may also have been the first to use a telephone from the White House to campaign for re-election.
McKinley was shot and killed while in office in 1901.
Afterwards, the state of Ohio made his signature red carnation the state flower.
112 years later, his home county is considered a bellweather in predicting the outcome of a presidential election.
As goes Stark County, so typically has gone the state and the nation in determining who will win.
And as much of the nation pauses to celebrate Presidents Day, at the McKinley Library the importance of the state of Ohio in national elections is not lost.
“I mean it is the battleground, so it’s cool to live in the state that everybody’s watching,” said Nick McCauley of Canton who believes he may be a distant relative of McKinley
“When it comes to the presidential elections and the candidates, always make several stops here, and really right from Ohio’s start as a state in 1803 we have been a microcosm of the entire United States, so I think that’s why it’s so important for campaigns today and it was so important back then too,” said Kinney.