Ohio: The Great-Grandson Race

In 1877, Alphonso Taft was Attorney General in the Cabinet of fellow Ohioan Ulysses S. Grant, and Patrick Gilligan, recently arrived in Cincinnati from Ireland's Sligo County, began a mortuary business. Cincinnati's Taft dynasty in succeeding generations occupied an ever more commanding role in the Republican Party and U.S. politics. The Gilligans also prospered in their chosen field.

It was not until Patrick's great-grandson John Joyce Gilligan decided to run for Congress in 1964 that the two families' destinies converged. Jack Gilligan not only beat the Taft-ruled organization's candidate, Representative Carl Rich,...

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