Bryan had been the Democratic Party’s unsuccessful candidate for president in 1896, 1900, and again in 1908. Nevertheless, the temperance-minded Bryan (who was not present at the Prohibition Party convention) declined the offer of a chance to run again on a third-party ticket. His brother, Charles W. Bryan, informed the national executive committee and prohibition leaders that “the Commoner did not desire to be nominated or to run on the ticket.”
Due to Bryan’s refusal to run, the party selected Aaron S. Watkins as its presidential candidate in 1920. Watkins garnered less than 200,000 votes.
To read more about William Jennings Bryan and prohibition, see the Nebraska State Historical Society’s Timeline column, posted with other Timeline columns on the NSHS website.— Patricia C. Gaster, Assistant Editor for Research and Publications