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Theory Of Relativity
By Ken Rudin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Friday, March 31, 2000
Question: I heard there was a father and son who served in the United States Senate from Maryland during the 1960s and '70s. Who were they and how effective were they as senators? Michael Warren, Ridgeland, Miss.
Answer: You're referring to Republicans J. Glenn Beall and J. Glenn Beall Jr. The elder Beall was a five-term veteran of the House when he won election to the Senate in 1952. Joseph Tydings (D) beat him in 1964, when he sought a third term. Beall Jr. won election to the House in 1968 and then, just two years later, took on Tydings and ousted him. He in turn, lost his 1976 reelection bid to Democrat Paul Sarbanes, and lost a gubernatorial bid two years later.
The elder Beall was seen as something of a statesman, a well-respected GOP moderate who appealed to Democrats and independents. But he was doomed from the start in his 1964 race against Tydings, a close personal friend of both John and Robert Kennedy and 34 years younger than Beall, who was 70. And while it may have been a bit unfair, Tydings successfully linked Beall with GOP presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, who barely managed to win a third of the vote in Maryland.
Beall Jr. focused more on constituent service than national affairs in his brief congressional career. Although he ran against Tydings in 1970 as a fervent backer of President Nixon, Beall was as moderate, if not even more, than his father. But in reality, Beall was little more than a bystander for most of his campaign. The election was not about him. It was about Tydings, and the Nixon administration, led by Vice President Spiro Agnew (a Marylander), spared no expense to defeat the Democrat. The same was true of the gun lobby, who wanted to defeat Tydings because he played a leading role on gun-control issues. What probably elected Beall, however, was a story in Life magazine apparently leaked by White House aide Charles Colson that accused Tydings of a conflict of interest in connection with some large amounts of stock he held in a corporation.
(Tydings, by the way, is the adopted son of the late Sen. Millard Tydings (D-Md.), who served from 1927 until his defeat in 1950.)
Midway through his term, Beall's campaign was revealed to be the beneficiary of a sizable amount of money from a secret White House fund. While Nixon and Company were gone by 1976, the issue lingered, and Democrat Sarbanes beat Beall convincingly.
Question: Other than the Udalls, Kennedys and Hutchinsons, have there ever been relatives that served together in the House and/or Senate? Alex Tsimanis, Sacramento, Calif.
Answer: Quite a few, actually. There have been two sets of married House members who served at the same time. Reps. Bill Paxon and Susan Molinari, both Republicans from New York, served together three years as husband and wife after their marriage in July 1994 until her resignation in 1997 to take a job with CBS. Reps. Andy Jacobs (D-Ind.) and Martha Keys (D-Kan.), who were married in 1976, served together until her defeat in 1978. They divorced in 1981.
There was even a father and son duo in the Senate: Henry Dodge of Wisconsin and his son, Augustus Dodge of Iowa, were both first elected in 1848 and served together until the latter's resignation in 1855. And there were a mother and son in the House as well: Reps. Frances Bolton and Oliver Bolton, both Ohio Republicans. Mom was in the House from 1940 until her defeat in 1968. Her son served from 1953-57 and again from 1963-65. Here are some other relatives who served together in Congress in the past half-century (many thanks to the Senate Historical Office and the House Legislative Resource Center):
Two Michigan Democrats, Sen. Carl Levin and his brother, Rep. Sander Levin, who have served together since 1983;
Question: In 1946 Eleanor Roosevelt was asked to run for the Senate in New York. Can you give me any details? Mike Kuzemchak, Boynton Beach, Fla.
Answer: Approaching the 1946 election, Sen. James Mead (D-N.Y.) clearly was planning to run for governor. In what was shaping up to be a big Republican year, Democrats were desperate to keep the New York Senate seat. Harold L. Ickes, FDR's Interior Secretary and a longtime confidant of the late president, urged Mrs. Roosevelt to run. She considered but ultimately rejected the offer, deciding instead to let her sons realize their own political ambitions.
The irony of course is that Ickes' son, Harold M. Ickes, is said to be the brains behind another first lady currently running for the Senate in New York: Hillary Clinton. Another irony is that the seat Clinton is seeking is the same one rejected by Eleanor Roosevelt 54 years ago. One difference: Eleanor Roosevelt was born and raised in New York.
Question: What has Skip Humphrey been doing since he lost the 1998 Minnesota gubernatorial race to Jesse Ventura? Don Mac Gregor, Chicago, Ill.
Answer: Humphrey, son of the late Vice President Hubert Humphrey, has recently joined the University of Minnesota School of Public Health as a senior fellow. Humphrey, who as state attorney general was a leader in Minnesota's successful case against the nation's tobacco companies, will teach policy, law and public health. Prior to that, and after his 16-year tenure as attorney general concluded, Humphrey was a fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics.
Question: I recently read in The Washington Post Sunday Magazine about Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the lieutenant governor of Maryland and daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy. The first part of the article dealt with her unsuccessful bid for a congressional seat in 1986. It stated that her defeat marked the first time any member of the Kennedy family lost a general election. Is this true? I seem to recall having read somewhere that her great grandfather, John F. Fitzgerald (the longtime mayor of Boston and namesake of her uncle, the slain president) ran for the U.S. Senate and lost to the Republican incumbent, Henry Cabot Lodge Sr. Can you clear this up for me? Earl W. Williams, Elm Springs, Ark.
Answer: You are correct. Lodge defeated "Honey Fitz" in 1916.
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