Nixon, Quayle, Cheney among past visitors to Johnson County

In the past 50 years, Johnson County has been visited by two presidential hopefuls, one sitting president and two vice presidents.

But this week was the first time in recent history that a candidate for president has hosted a rally here.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who is hoping to win the Republican nomination for president, made stops at a Greenwood pizza parlor and then at the Johnson County fairgrounds in Franklin.

Indiana’s early May primary election is one of the last in the nation, and political parties typically have chosen their candidate before voters in Indiana cast a single vote.

But that isn’t always the case.

In 2008, then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama ate a ham-and-vegetable omelette and campaigned at the Four Seasons Restaurant in Greenwood, a visit employees and customers still remember.

And in the past few days, Cruz has made multiple stops in Indiana, and other candidates also are making stops.

Johnson County also has had some visits from a past president and vice presidents.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon made an impromptu stop at the Daily Journal on his way to Indianapolis and met with the editorial board of the newspaper. His motorcade also stopped for a moment in Whiteland to wave at a waiting crowd and made a stop in Greenwood.

Indiana’s own Dan Quayle, the 44th vice president, was known to come through Johnson County, said Max Fitzpatrick, county historian. Fitzpatrick remembers students at Webb Elementary School lining the sidewalks to wave at the vice president.

And Vice President Dick Cheney made a stop at Camp Atterbury, a military installation near Edinburgh, in 2006 to thank soldiers for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan and to stump for continued support of the war on terror.