Alvin V. Donahey
Photograph of A. Victor Donahey, ca. 1924. He served three consecutive terms as governor of Ohio from 1923 to 1929.
Alvin Victor Donahey was born on July 7, 1873, in West Chester, Ohio. Donahey preferred to be called "Vic." He attended public schools in West Chester and New Philadelphia. Donahey did not graduate from high school, leaving school as a junior to work in a printing office. He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a foreman in less than three years, and he eventually owned his own printing company in New Philadelphia.
While still in his twenties, Donahey embarked upon a political career. He was a member of the Democratic Party, but he resided in a portion of Ohio that was overwhelmingly Republican. Nevertheless, he became a township clerk in 1898, serving two terms. In 1904, Donahey won election as Tuscarawas County's auditor, a position that he held until 1909. In addition to this office, Donahey also was a member of New Philadelphia's Board of Education and was a delegate to the Ohio Constitutional Convention of 1912, serving on the labor, taxation, and initiative and referendum committees. In 1912, Donahey won election to his first statewide office -- Ohio auditor. He served eight years, winning reelection in 1916. Under his direction, the auditor's office gained greater control over the state's funds.
In 1920, Donahey sought election to the governor's seat, but he was easily defeated by Republican Harry Lyman Davis. In 1922, Davis did not seek reelection, and Donahey won election to the governor's seat by eighteen thousand votes over Carmi A. Thompson. Ohio voters reelected Donahey in 1924 by 175,000 votes over former governor Davis and again in 1926 by just sixteen thousand votes over Myers Cooper. As governor, Donahey faced a legislature dominated by Republicans. During his first two terms in office, Donahey vetoed 117 bills, but the legislature eventually passed many of these without the governor's approval. Donahey's use of the veto power earned him the nickname, "veto Vic." Despite the governor's contentious relationship with the legislature, he succeeded in dramatically improving Ohio's roads and reforming the state's judicial system.
In 1928, Donahey did not seek reelection. His health was suffering, and he desired to return to his business interests. Donahey, however, was not through with politics. In 1934, he won election to the United States Senate over the incumbent, Simeon D. Fess. Donahey served in this office from 1935 to 1941. He died on April 8, 1946.
- The Governors of Ohio. Columbus: The Ohio Historical Society, 1954
- Cayton, Andrew. Ohio: The History of a People. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2002.