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In Memoriam
Political Junkie
Send your questions about campaigns and elections.

By Ken Rudin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Friday, January 7, 2000

It may not be the end of the century, or even the millennium, as some insist. But it is the end of a year, and so we take this moment to remember some of the people who died and who influenced our political history.

Among those who passed away in 1999: John Chafee and George Brown, who served in Congress with dignity; John Ehrlichman and Elliot Richardson, who played opposite roles during Watergate; James Farmer, who fought for civil rights; Harry Blackmun, who fought for abortion rights; Roman Hruska, who fought for conservative principles in a long Senate career; and John F. Kennedy Jr., who never ran for office and never affected public policy, but who left a deep impression upon all of us.

Presented here is a chronological list of those from the political world who died in 1999. It does not claim to be complete, but it includes many of those who made our lives more interesting.

Henry Paolucci, 77, the vice chairman of the New York Conservative Party who was its nominee for Senate in the 1964 election against Republican incumbent Kenneth Keating and Democratic challenger Robert F. Kennedy. (Jan. 1)

David Dennis, 86, an Indiana Republican whose career in Congress (1969-75) came to an end not long after his 1974 vote, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, against the impeachment of President Nixon. (Jan. 6)

Carl Elliott, 85, an Alabama Democrat whose support for civil rights causes helped end his tenure in Congress (1949-65), and who unsuccessfully sought the 1966 Democratic gubernatorial nomination. (Jan. 9)

Maurice Donahue, 80, a former president of the Massachusetts state Senate who narrowly lost the 1970 Democratic primary for governor. (Jan. 13)

Eugene Pulliam, 84, who, as managing editor of the Indianapolis News, publicly rebuked the methods of Communist-hunting Sen. Joe McCarthy in 1953 as "a peril to American freedom." (Jan. 20)

Berkeley Bunker, 92, who filled a Nevada Senate vacancy in 1940 but lost his bid for the Democratic nomination for the seat in the 1942 primary. He later served one term in the House and ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic Senate nominee in 1946. (Jan. 21)

(Collection of Ken Rudin)
Mills Godwin, 84, the only Virginian to serve two terms as governor -- the first (1966-70) as a Democrat, the second (1974-78) as a Republican. (Jan. 30)

Two-Time Va. Gov. Mills Godwin Dies
Editorial: Mills Edwin Godwin Jr.

Joe Kilgore, 80, a former Democratic House member from Texas (1955-65) and a longtime adviser to Lyndon Johnson. (Feb. 10)

John Ehrlichman, 73, President Nixon's domestic policy chief who went to prison during the Watergate scandal. (Feb. 14)

Key Nixon Adviser John D. Ehrlichman Dies at 73

Jeffrey Cohelan, 84, a liberal Democrat from California who served six terms in the House (1959-71) but whose support for the Vietnam War was mostly responsible for his defeat in the 1970 primary by Berkeley City Councilman Ron Dellums. (Feb. 15)

Rep. Jeffery Cohelan Dies at 84

Wilmer "Vinegar Bend" Mizell, 68, a former major-league baseball pitcher who later served three terms in the House (1969-74) as a North Carolina Republican. (Feb. 21)

Wilmer D. 'Vinegar Bend' Mizell Dies at 68

Harry Blackmun, 90, a Nixon-appointed Supreme Court Justice (1970-94) who wrote the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide. (March 4)

Justice Blackmun Dies, Leaves Legacy of Rights
Blackmun Remembered for 'Human Touch'
Blackmun Legacy Honored

Richard Davis, 77, a former Democratic state chairman of Virginia who served as lieutenant governor and whose path to the governorship was derailed when he was pressured into an unsuccessful Senate bid in 1982. (March 4)

Former Virginia Lt. Gov. Richard J. Davis Jr. Dies

Robert Postel, 59, a New York City Democratic councilman who made an abortive bid for mayor in 1973. (March 6)

George Reedy, 81, who succeeded Pierre Salinger as White House press secretary under President Johnson and served until 1965. (March 21)

George Reedy Dies

Wilson Riles, 81, who in 1970 became California's first black statewide elected official when he defeated Republican Max Rafferty to become Superintendent of Schools. Riles won two more terms before his defeat in 1982. (April 1)

James McClure Clarke, 82, a North Carolina Democrat who won, lost and won in three consecutive congressional elections against Republican Bill Hendon in the 1980s, only to finally lose his seat to Charles Taylor (R) in 1990. (April 13)

Walter Moeller, 89, a Lutheran minister who served three terms in the House (1959-63, 1965-67) before losing to Republican Clarence Miller in 1966. (April 13)

Walter Moeller, 89, Dies

Ralph Perk, 85, a former mayor of Cleveland (1972-77) and the 1974 GOP Senate nominee against John Glenn who is probably best known for accidentally setting his own hair on fire with a blowtorch at a 1972 ceremony. (April 21)

Mary "Tod" Rockefeller, 91, whose divorce from Nelson Rockefeller in 1963 -- followed soon after by Rocky's marriage to a mother of four children -- helped doom the New York governor's 1964 presidential bid. (April 21)

(Collection of Ken Rudin)
Roman Hruska, 94, a leading conservative Republican from Nebraska who served in the Senate for 22 years (1954-76) but who will be remembered mostly for his remark during the 1970 confirmation hearing for Nixon's ill-fated Supreme Court choice, G. Harrold Carswell. Liberal Democrats had criticized Carswell as a "mediocre" nominee. Hruska, coming to his defense, said, "Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they?" (April 25)

Sen. Roman Hruska Dies at 94

John McKeithen, 81, a Democrat who was Louisiana's first governor to serve two consecutive terms (1964-72) and under whose tenure saw the beginning of the end of segregation in the state. Later, following the death of Sen. Allen Ellender (D) in 1972, he unsuccessfully ran as an independent in the special election to succeed him. (June 4)

Jack Campbell, 82, a former two-term (1963-67) Democratic governor of New Mexico. (June 14)

Cecil Morgan, 100, a former Louisiana state representative who led the successful effort to impeach Gov. Huey Long in 1929 but who failed to win a conviction in the state Senate. (June 14)

Lynn Stalbaum, 79, a one-term member of Congress from Wisconsin who was swept into office in 1964 in the LBJ landslide but who lost two years later in a rematch with the man he unseated, Republican Henry Schadeberg. (June 17)

Lynn Stalbaum Dies

Bob Bullock, 69, a Texas Democrat whose tenure as lieutenant governor (1991-99) made him the most powerful politician in the state. (June 18)

Politician Bob Bullock, 69, Dies

(Collection of Ken Rudin)
James Farmer, 79, one of America's giants in the fight for racial justice as founder of the Congress of Racial Equality, and who lost to Shirley Chisholm as the Republican-Liberal nominee for Congress in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1968. (July 9)

Victoria Buckley, 51, who as Colorado's secretary of state was the nation's highest ranking black female Republican in statewide office. (July 15)

John F. Kennedy Jr., 38, the son of the 35th President and heir to a political dynasty. (July 16)

Special Report: The Life of JFK Jr.

(Collection of Ken Rudin)
Rep. George Brown Jr., 79, a Democratic congressman from California and the oldest member of the House. Brown, first elected in 1962, gave up his seat in an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic Senate nomination in 1970. Returning to the House in 1973, he was a longtime GOP target who often endured fierce struggles to retain his seat. (July 16)

Frank Johnson Jr., 80, the legendary Alabama federal judge whose rulings on civil rights cases were widely responsible for desegregating the South. (July 23)

Judge Frank M. Johnson Jr. Dies

Alan Karcher, 56, a former New Jersey state Assembly speaker who lost a bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1989. (July 26)

S. Howard Woodson, 83, a New Jersey Democratic Assemblyman who in 1974 became the first black to lead the lower house of a state legislature. (July 28)

Robert Mollohan, 89, whose 18 years in the House (1953-57, 1969-83) were sandwiched around a 1956 unsuccessful bid for governor of West Virginia, when he lost to Republican Cecil Underwood. (Aug. 3)

Rep. Robert H. Mollohan Dies at 89

David Curtis, 61, the chairman of the Vermont Democratic Party. (Aug. 7)

Donald Johnson, 75, an Iowa Republican who lost the 1968 gubernatorial primary and was later named to head the Veterans Administration under President Nixon. (Aug. 10)

VA's Donald Johnson Dies

Earle Jorgensen, 101, a California businessman who was instrumental in persuading Ronald Reagan to enter politics. (Aug. 11)

Bob Wilson, 83, a 14-term GOP House member (1953-81) from California. (Aug. 21)

Philip Klutznick, 93, a former aide to Adlai Stevenson who later served as President Carter's Secretary of Commerce. (Aug. 14)

Developer Philip M. Klutznick Dies at 93

Charles Joelson, 83, a five-term Democratic congressman from New Jersey (1961-69) who fought the Nixon administration over more money for education. (Aug. 17)

John Tabor, 78, a Pennsylvania Republican who was elected in 1966 as secretary of internal affairs, a statewide position, and later served as President Nixon's undersecretary of commerce (Sept. 6).

Lawyer John K. Tabor Dies at Age 78

John F. White Sr., 75, a longtime leading political strategist in Philadelphia who played a key role in the 1983 election of Wilson Goode as the city's first black mayor. (Sept. 15)

Doris Allen, 63, a California Republican who became the state Assembly's first female speaker with the help of the outgoing, term-limited incumbent, Democrat Willie Brown, and who was removed from office four months later by a recall campaign. (Sept. 22)

Judith Campbell Exner, 65, who claimed to have had an affair with John F. Kennedy before and during his presidency. (Sept. 24)

Judith Campbell Exner, Linked to JFK, Dies

Don Sanders, 69, a former GOP staff lawyer on the Senate Watergate Committee who revealed the existence of a recording system in President Nixon's White House (Sept. 26).

Senate Lawyer Don Sanders Dies

James Murray, 82, a one-term (1955-57) Democratic congressman from Illinois. (Oct. 19)

H. Stuart Hughes, 83, a former co-chairman of the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy who ran as an independent "peace candidate" for the Senate from Massachusetts in 1962, winning 2.4 percent in a race won by first-time candidate Edward Kennedy. (Oct. 21)

H. Stuart Hughes, 83, Dies

(Collection of Ken Rudin)
John Chafee, 77, the senior senator from Rhode Island and chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee who was widely respected for his civility and who earlier decided not to seek a fifth term in 2000. Chafee, the first Republican senator from the state since the 1930s, also served three terms as governor (1963-69), was Nixon's Secretary of the Navy, and lost a Senate bid to Democrat Claiborne Pell in 1972. His son Lincoln Chafee, the mayor of Warwick, was named to fill his Senate seat. (Oct. 24)

Rhode Island Sen. Chafee Dies

Joe Serna, 60, the mayor of Sacramento since 1992. (Nov. 7)

Ben DiLieto, 76, who served ten years (1979-89) as mayor of New Haven, Conn. (Nov. 8)

Martin Perper, 60, a former Republican state legislator from Virginia who ran as an independent against Sen. Harry Byrd Jr. in 1976. (Nov. 21)

Martin Howard Perper, 60, Dies

Rose Bird, 63, who was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 1977 as chief justice of the California Supreme Court and whose liberal views on the death penalty, busing and taxes led voters to remove her from office in 1986. (Dec. 4)

Ousted Jurist Rose Bird Dies

Everett Carll Ladd Jr., 62, a renowned political pollster who headed up the Roper Center at the University of Connecticut. (Dec. 8)

Ed Jones, 87, who in his 20 years (1969-89) in the House as a Tennessee Democrat focused on agriculture issues. (Dec. 11)

Former Rep. Ed Jones, Tenn. Democrat, Dies

Charles Ward, 81, the chief of staff to then-Speaker Carl Albert (D-Okla.) who failed in a 1976 bid to succeed his boss in the House. (Dec. 11)

(Collection of Ken Rudin)
Henry Helstoski, 75, a New Jersey Democrat whose career in Congress (1965-77) came to an end following his indictment on charges of accepting a bribe. Helstoski, who was never tried or found guilty, was defeated in 1976. He also sought his party's gubernatorial nomination in 1969 and made two attempts (in 1978 and 1980) to regain his House seat. (Dec. 16)

Former U.S. Rep. Henry Helstoski, at 75

Leo Carlin, 91, the first popularly elected mayor of Newark, N.J., in modern times whose tenure (1953-62) ended in defeat at the hands of then-Rep. Hugh Addonizio. (Dec. 17)

Ken Clawson, 63, President Nixon's director of communications during Watergate. (Dec. 17)

Ken W. Clawson Dies at 63

Jack Hawley, 79, the unsuccessful 1962 GOP Senate nominee against incumbent Idaho Democrat Frank Church. (Dec. 20)

Joseph McGahn, 82, a former Democratic state senator from New Jersey who wrote the legislation that led to legalized gambling in Atlantic City. (Dec. 24)

Anthony Imperiale, 68, whose blatant appeal to white voters helped elect him to the New Jersey state legislature and gave him 44 percent of the vote in a 1974 challenge to Newark Mayor Kenneth Gibson. He also finished a poor fifth in the 1981 GOP gubernatorial primary. (Dec. 26)

(Collection of Ken Rudin)
Elliot Richardson, 79, whose tenure in the Nixon Cabinet is best remembered by his 1973 refusal to comply with the President's order to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Instead, the U.S. attorney general resigned, during what was called the "Saturday Night Massacre." Previously, he lost the GOP nomination to Edward Brooke for Massachusetts attorney general in 1962, was elected lieutenant governor in 1964 and state attorney general in 1966. From there he was appointed by Nixon to be Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and then Secretary of Defense. He later was President Ford's Secretary of Commerce and Ambassador to Britain. In 1984 he lost his bid for the GOP Senate nomination from Massachusetts. (Dec. 31)

Watergate Prosecutor Elliot Richardson Dies at 79

Got a question? Ask Ken Rudin: junkie@washingtonpost.com

Ken Rudin, political editor at National Public Radio, is also the creator of washingtonpost.com's ScuttleButton contest.

© Copyright 1999 Ken Rudin

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