Ohio voters choose another man for Statuary Hall

July 10, 2010 by EVE   · 2 Comments »

Sorry, we couldn’t resist. Here’s the press release from the Ohio Historical Society:

Ohioans Choose Edison for National Statuary Hall

Edison(COLUMBUS, OHIO) -On behalf of the National Statuary Collection Study Committee, the Ohio Historical Society announces that inventor Thomas A. Edison was the top vote-getter for Ohio’s representative to National Statuary Hall Collection in the U.S. Capitol.

From March 20 to June 12, more than 46,000 Ohioans statewide cast ballots for one of 10 nominees for whom they thought should stand for Ohio in Washington, D.C. Of the total, Edison received 14,261 votes, followed by the Wright Brothers with 13,363 votes and Jesse Owens with 4,921 votes, according to Burt Logan, executive director and CEO of the Ohio Historical Society.

“The response to the popular vote was extraordinary,” Logan said. “Ohioans of all ages and from every region of the state took this opportunity to tell state legislators who they want to represent the state in National Statuary Hall and Thomas Edison, world-famous inventor born in Milan, Ohio, is the people’s choice.”

The public vote isn’t binding, but most of the news reports in Ohio seem to be taking it as given that Edison will be the state’s new statue. Quoting again from the Ohio Historical Society press release:

The National Statuary Collection Study Committee will consider the public vote to be the greatest single factor in making its final recommendation to the full General Assembly for approval. Plans for when the Committee will reconvene will be announced by Senator Wagoner’s office in the near future.

Once the decision has been made and private funds have been raised, the new statute will join the statue of President James Garfield as Ohio representatives in Statuary Hall. The Ohio Statuary Hall Commission was established to raise the private funding necessary to commission the new statue to send to Washington and make arrangements for bringing Governor Allen’s statue home to Ohio.

The public vote totals are rather discouraging for those of us who were rooting for the female candidates. None of the women made it into the top half of the list:

Of the total 46,723 votes, 25,503 were cast by adults and 21,220 by students. The final results are listed below:

Nominee Adults Students Total Percentage
Thomas A. Edison 9,377 4,884 14,261 30.5%
Wright Brothers 6,183 7,180 13,363 28.6%
Jesse Owens 2,103 2,818 4,921 10.5%
William M. McCulloch 3,277 472 3,749 8%
Ulysses S. Grant 1,342 1,724 3,066 6.6%
Harriet Taylor Upton 1,474 947 2,421 5.2%
Harriet Beecher Stowe 938 1,316 2,254 4.8%
Judith A. Resnik 412 1,041 1,453 3.1%
Albert B. Sabin 355 374 729 1.6%
James Mitchell Ashley 42 464 506 1.1%
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2 Responses
  1. David in Ohio says:

    With only a 898 total votes difference (less than 2%) between the Milan-born businessman and the Dayton duo, the National Statuary Collection Study Committee needs to consider a runoff between the two. With Jesse Owens earning over 10% of the votes to come in third, perhaps a three-way showdown is in order.

    The most recent ballots tabulation shows that 32,462 Ohioans want somebody besides the Menlo Park Wizard to represent us in Statuary Hall. That is 69.5% of those who voted. Just over half of these not selecting Edison were 16,336 students. That is 77% of the students overall. Their top choice is the Wright Brothers, with 33.8% of their votes and only 23% going for Edison.

    It is too bad that the top three don’t show much for “distinguished civic or military services” as the Hall was intended to honor, but the process followed brought us to this dilemma.

    Worth a read about Edison’s elephant in the room!
    Then, with a few good comments:

  2. David in Ohio says:

    And, another thing:

    Each one of the next four (William M. McCulloch, Ulysses S. Grant, Harriet Taylor Upton, and Harriet Beecher Stowe) individually did more of what matters for who we are as a country than the first three combined.

    Think about it, these four were pacemakers and change agents in civil rights, preserving the Union, woman’s suffrage, and the abolition of slavery. There is significance in the accomplishments of Edison, the Wrights, and Owens, but does it rise to the value of the ones who made a difference for the nation? They are not even in the same league.