Alf Landon
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 1887
Date of Death: 1987
Cause of Death: Natural causes
Religion: Methodist
Occupation: Banker, Businesssman
Spouse: Margaret Fleming, d. 1918,
Theo Cobb
Children: Margaret, Nancy, John
Military Branch: United States Army (World War I)
Political Party: Republican Party
Political Office(s): Governor of Kansas
Turtledove Appearances:
The War That Came Early
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
Appearance(s): The Big Switch
Type of Appearance: Contemporary reference
Joe Steele
POD: 1878;
Relevant POD: July, 1932
Novel or Story?: Both
Type of Appearance: Direct
Political Office(s): Governor of Kansas
Alfred "Alf" Mossman Landon (September 9, 1887 – October 12, 1987) was an American Republican politician, who served as Governor of Kansas from 1933–1937. He was best known as the Republican Presidential Nominee defeated in a landslide by Democratic incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1936 election, only winning eight electoral votes from the two states Maine and Vermont.

Alf Landon in The War That Came EarlyEdit

Alf Landon ran for President for a second time in 1940, when he was the choice of isolationist Republicans unwilling to support their party's official nominee, the interventionist Wendell Willkie.[1] With a landslide electoral defeat to his name already, Landon was not seen as a serious contender, but only as a spoiler candidate who divided the Republican base and stole votes from Willkie--to the benefit of Democrat Franklin D Roosevelt, who won an unprecedented third term.[2]

Alf Landon in Joe SteeleEdit

Kansas Governor Alf Landon was the Republican party presidential candidate in 1936 after beating former president Herbert Hoover for the nomination[3]. He was handily defeated by incumbent President Joe Steele.

Landon initially tried to present himself as the true populist in the race, reminding the country that Kansas had been home to the first Populists. However, that appeal was quickly drowned out when journalist and Steele-supporter Charlie Sullivan used the definition of the word "populist" Ambrose Bierce created in The Devil's Dictionary: "A fossil patriot of the early agricultural period, found in the old red soapstone underlying Kansas; characterized by an uncommon spread of ear, which some naturalists contend gave him the power of flight, though Professors Morse and Whitney, pursuing independent lines of thought, have ingeniously pointed out that had he possessed it he would have gone elsewhere. In the picturesque speech of his period, some fragments of which have come down to us, he was known as 'The Matter with Kansas.'" In short order, Landon was dubbed "the Matter with Kansas" by the Steele campaign. Landon unsuccessfully tried to turn the name around, claiming that if he were the Matter with Kansas, Steele was the matter with the whole country.[4] The ticket was defeated in a landslide by incumbent Steele, carrying only Maine and Vermont.[5]


  1. The Big Switch, pg. 335.
  2. Ibid., pg. 346.
  3. Joe Steele, pg. 134.
  4. Ibid., pgs. 134-136.
  5. Ibid., pg. 137.
Political offices
Preceded by
Harry H. Woodring
Governor of Kansas
Succeeded by
Walter A. Huxman
Party political offices
Preceded by
Herbert Hoover
Republican Presidential Candidate
1936 (lost)
Succeeded by
Wendell Willkie
Party political offices
(Joe Steele)
Preceded by
Herbert Hoover
Republican Party Presidential Candidate
1936 (lost)
Succeeded by
Wendell Willkie
Party political offices
(The War That Came Early)
Preceded by
None; himself as Republican Party Candidate
Isolationist Republican Party Presidential Candidate¹
1940 (lost)
Succeeded by
Most Recent
Notes and references
1. The Republican Party saw fracturing in 1940, with the mainstream Republicans nominating Wendell Willkie, but the isolationist wing nominating Landon.