Remembering Those Who Left Us In 2017

Whatever you think of 2017, it’s hard to make the case that it was one of the most uplifting of years.  And, frankly, that couldn’t have been much of a surprise, given the presidential campaign we had witnessed in 2016.

The decline in civility and dignity has not dissipated.  And, we suspect, it’s not going to change any time soon.  But rather than spend time looking back and pointing fingers, we would rather remember those who left us this year, many of who believed in the good of politics, the good of public service.  Many who will be sorely missed.

What follows is a chronological list of those in the political and media world who died in 2017.  It doesn’t claim to be complete, but it includes many of those who made our lives more interesting and the world a better place.

Albert Brewer, 88, who as lt. gov. became governor of Alabama in 1968 following the death of Lurleen Wallace, and who lost an infamous and ugly Dem primary runoff in 1970 to George Wallace, the former governor and Lurleen’s husband, who used openly racist tactics to help him win.  Brewer sought a comeback in 1978 but finished third in the Dem gov. primary. (Jan. 2)

William Cason, 92, a former Missouri state senator who ran for governor in 1976 but lost to Joe Teasdale in the Democratic primary. (Jan. 4)

Nat Hentoff, 91, a Village Voice and Washington Post columnist and a ferocious defender of civil liberties. (Jan. 7)

Roy Innis, 82, the head of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) since 1968 whose conservative views put him at odds with much of the black community, and who lost badly in his challenge to NYC Mayor David Dinkins, the city’s first black mayor, in the 1993 Dem primary. (Jan. 8)

George Beall, 79, the son and brother of Maryland GOP senators who, as U.S. Attorney for Maryland in 1973, led the prosecution that resulted in the resignation of Spiro Agnew as vice president. (Jan. 15)

David Buckson, 96, the lt. gov. of Delaware who, for 19 days, became governor in 1960-61 after Gov. J. Caleb Boggs was elected to the Senate, and who tried to win the governorship on his own in 1972 but lost to Russell Peterson in the GOP primary. (Jan. 17)

Wayne Barrett, 71, a muckracking columnist for New York’s Village Voice who took on Mayors Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani and who wrote a defining critical book about Donald Trump. (Jan. 19)

Harry Middleton, 95, who as director of the LBJ Presidential Library made the decision to release Johnson’s taped conversations from the Oval Office. (Jan. 20)

Bob Folsom, 89, the mayor of Dallas from 1976, when he won a special election to succeed congressional candidate Wes Wise, until 1981. (Jan. 24)

Robert Garcia, 84, a Bronx Democrat who succeeded Herman Badillo in the House in 1978 and served until his forced resignation in January of 1990, following his conviction (later overturned) in the Wedtech bribery scandal. (Jan. 25)

Tom Barlow, 76, a one-term House member from Kentucky who upset Rep. Carroll Hubbard in the 1992 Dem primary but was unseated himself two years later by Republican Ed Whitfield.  Barlow sought the seat again in 1998 and 2006 but lost both times, and in 2002 he ran for the Senate but lost the primary to Lois Weinberg. (Jan. 31)

Alvin Baldus, 90, a Wisconsin Democrat who ousted Rep. Vernon Thomson (R) in the Watergate election year of 1974 and held it until the Reagan election year of 1980, when he was unseated by Republican Steve Gunderson. (Feb. 2)

Roger Boas, 95, a liberal San Francisco supervisor and aide to Mayor George Moscone who ran for mayor himself in 1987, finishing third in a race won by Assemblyman Art Agnos.  He was also the unsuccessful Dem nominee for Congress against Rep. William Mailliard (R) in 1972. (Feb. 10)

Clint Roberts, 82, the prototype for the Marlboro Man commercial who, as a South Dakota Republican, succeeded Senate candidate Jim Abdnor (R) in a race for the House in 1980 but when redistricting merged the state’s two House seats together two years later, he lost to the other incumbent, Democrat Tom Daschle. (Feb. 12)

Aileen Hernandez, 90, who succeeded Betty Friedan as president of the National Organization for Women in 1970. (Feb. 13)

Jerome Tuccille, 79, a self-styled radical libertarian who ran for governor of New York in 1974 under the Free Libertarian Party banner, winning about 30,000 votes. (Feb. 16)

Bob Michel, 93, an Illinois Republican who served 38 years in the House, rising to the position of Minority Leader, but whose tenure was always as a member of the minority.  First elected in 1956, when he succeeded his boss, the retiring Harold Velde (R), Michel rose to become minority leader in 1980 (defeating NRCC chair Guy Vander Jagt). He worked to help implement the agendas of Presidents Reagan and Bush in the House, but in later years he found himself under assault from junior members in his party, regardless of ideology, who accused him of being too willing to accommodate Democrats.  And when Newt Gingrich became minority whip in 1989, Michel saw the party moving away from his brand of non-confrontational conservatism.  Faced with a likely challenge from Gingrich for his leadership in 1994, Michel decided to retire that year … a year when the GOP won the House for the first time in 40 years.  He was an amiable, affable gentleman, whose style was no longer in vogue with a more aggressive Republican Party.  His 14 years as GOP House leader is the longest in the history of the party. (Feb. 17)

Charles Bartlett, 95, a Pulitzer Prize newspaper columnist who, while working for the Chattanooga Times in Washington in 1951, introduced Jacqueline Bouvier to a Massachusetts congressman named John F. Kennedy. (Feb. 17)

Theodore Lowi, 85, an influential liberal political science professor at Cornell University. (Feb. 17)

Norma McCorvey, 69, the real name of the pseudonym “Jane Roe,” the Roe in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that legalized the right to an abortion, and who later disavowed her past and became a strong anti-abortion advocate. (Feb. 18)

John Wold, 100, the unsuccessful Republican nominee for the Senate from Wyoming against Dem incumbent Gale McGee in 1964, who unseated Rep. William Henry Harrison in the 1968 GOP primary and then decided to take on Sen. McGee again in 1970, only to suffer the same result. (Feb. 19)

Richard Coffee, 92, a New Jersey state senator who was briefly a candidate for governor in 1973 until he withdrew and endorsed Brendan Byrne (D), the eventual winner. (Feb. 19)

Eni Faleomavaega, 73, a Democrat from American Samoa, who was the territory’s longest serving non-voting delegate to Congress, first elected in 1988 and serving until his defeat in 2014. (Feb. 22)

Ed Garvey, 76, the head of the NFL players’ union who, as a Wisconsin liberal, was narrowly defeated by Sen. Bob Kasten (R) in 1986 and routed by Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) in 1998. (Feb. 22)

Alan Colmes, 66, the liberal punching bag part of Fox’s odd-couple pairing with Sean Hannity. (Feb. 23)

William Liebenow, 97, a PT boat captain who rescued the sailors of PT 109 after it was split in two by an attack from a Japanese destroyer in the South Pacific in August of 1943; among those rescued was Lt. John F. Kennedy. (Feb. 24)

Jerry Birbach, 87, a state Senate candidate and vocal opponent of low-income housing in Queens’ middle class Forest Hills area, whose protest efforts in 1972 were mediated by a guy named Mario Cuomo, a situation that led to the beginning of Cuomo’s political career. (Feb. 27)

Clayton Yeutter, 86, who served as RNC chair, U.S. Trade Representative under President Ronald Reagan and secretary of agriculture under President George Bush. (March 4)

Helen Marshall, 87, a New York Democrat whose election in 2001 made her the first African American borough president of Queens and who served three terms. (March 4)

Anthony Beilenson, 84, a ten-term Democratic member of the House from California who was an influential supporter of abortion rights; he won an open congressional seat in 1976 and went on to head up the House Intelligence Cmte before retiring in 1996.  Earlier, in 1968, he sought the Dem nomination for a Republican Senate seat but lost the primary to Alan Cranston. (March 5)

Lynne Stewart, 77, a leftwing lawyer who represented terrorists, such as Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (the blind cleric whose followers tried to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993) and other assorted radicals, often working with William Kuntsler. (March 7)

Kika de la Garza, 89, a Texas Democrat who served in the House from 1964 (when he won the seat of the retiring Joe Kilgore), helped found the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and rose to become chair of the Agriculture Cmte, retiring after 1996. (March 13)

John Crutcher, 100, the Republican lt. gov. of Kansas whose bid for the governorship fell short in the 1968 GOP primary. (March 13)

John Van de Kamp, 81, a noted foe of the death penalty who served as the Los Angeles district attorney and later California’s state attorney general and then went on to lose the 1990 Democratic gov. primary to Dianne Feinstein in a landslide. (March 14)

Jimmy Breslin, 88, a legendary NYC newspaper columnist who made a half-serious bid for city council president in 1969 on a ticket led by mayoral hopeful Norman Mailer; both were defeated in the Democratic primary. (March 19)

Edward McManus, 97, the Democratic lt. gov. of Iowa under Gov. Herschel Loveless (D) who ran for governor himself in 1960 when Loveless sought a Senate seat.  As Loveless was losing his Senate bid, McManus lost as well, to Republican Norman Erbe. (March 20)

Christy Mihos, 67, a businessman who ran for governor of Massachusetts as an independent in 2006 and sought the GOP gov. nomination 4 years later but failed to get enough convention votes to qualify for the primary ballot. (March 25)

Roger Wilkins, 85, who as a Justice Dept official during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and later as a journalist and university professor was a key voice in the battle for civil rights. (March 26)

John Herbert, 86, who served two terms as Ohio state Treasurer from 1963 until 1970, when he was the unsuccessful GOP nominee for state attorney general.  He was the son of Thomas Herbert, who served as governor in the late 1940s. (March 27)

Bill Minor, 94, a courageous reporter for the New Orleans Times-Picayune who chronicled race and civil rights in Mississippi, and opened up the nation’s eyes in the process. (March 28)

Ed Greelegs, 66, the former chief of staff to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), a longtime congressional staffer and a dear personal friend. (March 28)

William Coleman, 96, a civil rights lawyer who in 1975 became the nation’s second black Cabinet officer, when he was selected as President Ford’s transportation secretary. (March 31)

Amy Moritz Ridenour, 57, a conservative activist who lost to Jack Abramoff in the 1981 race for College Republican chair and who testified against him during the lobbying scandal in which he played a major role. (March 31)

Frederick Lacey, 96, a crime-busting U.S. Attorney who helped bring down corrupt New Jersey mayors, including Hugh Addonizio of Newark, Thomas Whelan of Jersey City and others. (April 1)

Clyde See, 75, the speaker of the West Virginia House who ran for governor in 1984 (losing to Republican ex-Gov. Arch Moore) and again in 1988 (losing the Dem primary to Gaston Caperton). (April 6)

Dawson Mathis, 76, a conservative Georgia Democrat who was first elected to Congress in an open district in 1970 and served until 1980, when he gave up his House seat to challenge scandal-tarred Sen. Herman Talmadge but finished fourth in the primary.  Two years later he tried to regain his old House seat but lost in the primary to his successor, Charles Hatcher. (April 17)

Joe McCorquodale, 96, the Democratic speaker of the Alabama House who sought the governorship in 1982, finishing third in the primary that was won by ex-Gov. George Wallace.  (April 17)

Lawrence Hogan, 88, a conservative Republican congressman from Maryland who became the first GOP member of the House Judiciary Cmte in 1974 to call for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.  Defeated by Rep. Hervey Machen (D) in 1966, Hogan won the rematch two years later.  Giving up his seat in 1974 to run for governor, Hogan’s call for Nixon’s impeachment was seen as courageous but ultimately killed his chances at the GOP gov. nomination, which he lost to Louise Gore.  His son Larry Jr. is currently Maryland’s governor. (April 20)

Jay Dickey, 77, who as a Republican House member from Arkansas played a major role in blocking federal research of the public health effects of gun violence.  He won the open 4th CD in 1992, the first Republican since Reconstruction to do so, and served in Congress until his defeat, to Mike Ross (D), in 2000, a defeat that was partly attributed to his vote to impeach President Bill Clinton, who was born and raised in that district.  Dickey also lost a 2002 attempt to reclaim his seat. (April 20)

Kate O’Beirne, 67, an editor for the conservative National Review and a regular on CNN and other TV talk shows. (April 23)

Ray Kogovsek, 75, a three-term Democratic member of Congress from Colorado, narrowly winning an open Dem seat in 1978 and retiring in 1984. (April 30)

Mike Lowry, 78, a five-term Democratic House member from Washington who later served one term as governor and was hounded at the end by charges of sexual harassment.  He was elected to Congress in 1978, defeating freshman Republican John Cunningham.  In the middle of his 3rd term, he ran in the special Senate election to succeed the late Scoop Jackson (D) but lost to Republican Dan Evans.  He eventually gave up his House seat in 1988 for another Senate run, for the seat of the retiring Evans, but he lost to Slade Gorton.  In 1992 he was elected governor, a term that was marred by the implementation of a large tax increase and, later, from accusations by his deputy press secretary that he had sexually harassed her.  He didn’t seek a second term. (May 1)

Leo Thorsness, 85, a Medal of Honor winner for his service in the Vietnam War, where he was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967 and held captive in Hanoi with John McCain; and who lost in his two bids for public office in South Dakota, against Sen. George McGovern (D) in 1974 and for an open House seat vacated by Senate candidate Larry Pressler in 1978, where he lost to Tom Daschle (D) by just 139 votes. (May 2)

Eddie Williams, 84, the longtime head of the Joint Center for Political Studies, a black think tank. (May 8)

Edward Young, 96, a South Carolina Republican who expected to be the party’s sacrificial lamb against 17-term Rep. John McMillan (D) in 1972.  But when McMillan lost the Dem primary to liberal state Rep. John Jenrette, the Democratic disunity helped Young become the first Republican to win the seat in history.  Watergate was just one reason why Young lost to Jenrette in the 1974 rematch, and in 1976 Jenrette’s margin over Young was even greater.  Young was the GOP nominee for governor in 1978 but got clobbered by Dick Riley.  And in 1980, when Rep. Jenrette was wounded by the Abscam scandal, Young hoped to win back his House seat, but he lost in the primary to John Napier, who did oust Jenrette. (May 9)

Thomas Bolan, 92, a founder of New York’s Conservative Party, a confidant of William F. Buckley Jr. and a law partner of Roy Cohn. (May 12)

Neil Rolde, 85, the 1990 Democratic nominee against Maine Sen. Bill Cohen, where he got just 38.6% of the vote. (May 15)

Roger Ailes, 77, a conservative media savvy political strategist-turned-creator of the wildly successful Fox News Network in 1996 but whose career came to an ignominious end in 2016 over a sexual harassment scandal. (May 18)

Donald Avenson, 72, a Democratic state rep from Iowa who was his party’s nominee against Gov. Terry Branstad in 1990, winning less than 39% of the vote. (May 19)

Joy Corning, 84, who was elected lt. gov. of Iowa in 1990 on the Republican ticket led by Terry Branstad and whose bid to succeed the retiring Branstad in 1998 ended well before the primary, when she didn’t have the money to compete. (May 20)

William Carney, 74, a member of New York’s Conservative Party who was elected to Congress in 1978 as a Republican (winning the seat of retiring Democrat Otis Pike) and held it until his retirement in 1986. (May 22)

Jim Bunning, 85, a Hall of Fame baseball pitcher who threw a perfect game for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1964 and who served as a conservative, and cantankerous, member of the House (for 12 years) and Senate (another 12) from Kentucky until his retirement in 2010.  The majority leader of the state Senate, Bunning was the unsuccessful GOP nominee for governor in 1983, when he lost to Martha Layne Collins (D).  In 1986, he won the House seat of the retiring Rep. Gene Snyder (R) and served until 1998, when Sen. Wendell Ford (D) was leaving and Bunning was narrowly elected to succeed him.  He was re-elected in 2004, also by a very slim margin, after he said his Democratic opponent, Daniel Mongiardo, looked like one of Saddam Hussein’s sons.  By 2010 he was thought to be in political difficulty and, under pressure from Mitch McConnell, his fellow Kentucky Republican senator, Bunning reluctantly announced his retirement. (May 26)

Zbigniew Brzezinski, 89, the national security adviser under President Jimmy Carter. (May 26)

Vic Gold, 88, a deputy press secretary for Sen. Barry Goldwater during the 1964 presidential campaign and later the press secy for Vice President Spiro Agnew. (June 5)

John Yoder, 66, a West Virginia circuit judge and former state senator who was the Republican nominee against Sen. Jay Rockefeller in 1990, when he was trounced by a more than 2-to-1 margin. (June 9)

David Armstrong, 75, who was elected attorney general of Kentucky in 1983, lost the Dem primary to Brereton Jones for lt. gov. in 1987, and was elected mayor of Louisville in 1999. (June 15)

Robert Farmer, 78, a soft-money pioneer who raised some $800 million for the Democratic Party and its candidates, and who was Bill Clinton’s campaign co-chair in 1992. (June 23)

Gabe Pressman, 93, the longtime (six decades) NYC political reporter for the local NBC affiliate, covering every mayor since Robert Wagner in the 1950s. (June 23)

Jeffrey Gildenhorn, 74, who ran for mayor of Washington, DC, in 1998 on a quixotic platform promising to legalize prostitution, a Dem primary effort that was won by Anthony Williams. (June 28)

Bobbie Greene McCarthy, 74, a former deputy chief of staff to First Lady Hillary Clinton. (June 29)

Norman Dorsen, 86, who headed up the ACLU for 15 years, beginning in 1976. (July 1)

Ralph Regula, 92, a moderate Ohio Republican who served 18 terms in the House, starting in 1972 when Frank Bow (R) retired and ending with his retirement in 2008 — longer than any other Ohio Republican in congressional history.  A fiscal conservative, he supported abortion rights and often worked to produce bipartisan legislation.  A representative from Canton, one of his chief causes was the ultimately unsuccessful effort to keep Alaska’s Mt. McKinley — named for the president from Canton — from being changed to Mt. Denali. (July 19)

Jake Butcher, 81, a Tennessee banker who twice unsuccessfully sought the governorship, first in a Democratic primary bid in 1974 and again four years later, when he was his party’s nominee against Republican Lamar Alexander. (July 19)

David Hess, 83, a longtime congressional and White House correspondent for Knight Ridder. (July 19)

Mark White, 77, a one-term Democratic governor of Texas, who unseated GOP incumbent Bill Clements in 1982, only to lose the rematch four years later.  As governor he raised taxes and worked to improve education standards in the state.  But his insistence that students need to pass their school courses for them to participate in sports was wildly unpopular in a state that lives for high school and college football.  A former state attorney general, he sought a comeback in 1990 but finished third in the Dem gov. primary won by Ann Richards. (Aug. 5)

Terry Michael, 70, a former press secretary for the DNC who later co-founded the Washington Center for Politics and Journalism. (Aug. 7)

Al McCandless, 90, a California Republican who was first elected to Congress in 1982 and served until his retirement in 1994. (Aug. 9)

Aubyn Curtiss, 92, a Republican state legislator from Montana who finished third in the 1984 GOP Senate primary. (Aug. 9)

Neil Chayet, 78, whose “Looking at the Law” radio segments gave him a national audience for 41 years and who had often been mentioned as a Republican candidate for the Senate or governor of Massachusetts, though he never ran. (Aug. 11)

John Russo, 84, a president of the New Jersey state Senate who finished second to Peter Shapiro in the 1985 Democratic primary for governor. (Aug. 12)

Milton Mollen, 97, who headed up a commission investigating corruption in the New York police dept. and who, decades earlier in 1965, as a staunch Democrat, nonetheless was a candidate for NYC comptroller on a GOP ticket led by Rep. John Lindsay. (Aug. 14)

Vern Ehlers, 83, a physicist and fiscal conservative who was elected to Congress from Michigan in a special 1993 election following the death of fellow Republican Paul Henry and served until his retirement in 2010. (Aug. 15)

John Tapscott, 87, an Iowa state senator who finished second in the 1972 Democratic primary for governor. (Aug. 16)

Roger McKellips, 94, a South Dakota state senator who was the Democratic nominee for governor in 1978, when he lost to Bill Janklow (R). (Aug. 18)

Arthur Finkelstein, 72, a conservative strategist whose clients included Sens. Jim Buckley (NY), Al D’Amato (NY), Jesse Helms (NC), Orrin Hatch (UT) and Connie Mack (FL), among others, as well as President Ronald Reagan, and was perhaps best known for his use of attack ads. (Aug. 18)

Dick Gregory, 84, a black satirist and political activist on behalf of civil rights and justice who waged a write-in campaign for mayor of Chicago in 1967 and president in 1968 on the Freedom and Peace Party ticket. (Aug. 19)

Cecil Andrus, 85, a former four term Democratic governor of Idaho, unseating GOP Gov. Don Samuelson in 1970 on his second try and winning re-election four years later.  Midway thru his second term he was selected by Jimmy Carter to be his interior secretary.  Fast forward to 1986, he was elected governor once again, in a squeaker, and re-elected in 1990, in a landslide.  As governor he was a strict environmentalist. (Aug. 24)

Tom Docking, 63, a son and grandson of governors of Kansas (Robert and George, respectively) who, as his state’s lt. gov., was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for governor in 1986, losing to Republican Mike Hayden. (Aug. 24)

Charlie Robertson, 83, a Democratic mayor of York, Pa. who, while seeking a third term in 2001, was arrested but later acquitted of murder in a 1969 racial incident. (Aug. 24)

Peter Diamondstone, 82, a co-founder (with Bernie Sanders) and perennial candidate of Vermont’s Liberty Union Party where, starting in 1970, he unsuccessfully ran for multiple offices, some as a Democrat, including races for governor, senator, congress and state attorney general. (Aug. 30)

Harry Meshel, 93, the former chair of the Ohio Democratic Party and president of the state Senate who was his party’s unsuccessful nominee for Congress in 1980 against Rep. Lyle Williams. (Sept. 4)

Joe DeNucci, 78, a former middleweight professional boxer and a Democrat who served as Massachusetts state auditor for a record 24 years. (Sept. 8)

Gerald Kleczka, 73, a Wisconsin Democrat who won a special House election in April 1984 following the death of Clement Zablocki (D) and served 20 years before his retirement after 2004.  He was best known for his opposition to the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. (Sept. 10)

Pete Domenici, 85, a New Mexico Republican who served a state record of six terms in the Senate, rising to become Budget Cmte chair.  Domenici was defeated in a bid for governor in the 1970 GOP primary, but two years later was elected to the Senate for the seat vacated by Clinton Anderson (D).  A fiscal conservative and a strong proponent of a balanced budget, he opposed the Newt Gingrich “Contract With America” because of what he called its unrealistic tax cuts.  He was usually re-elected by landslide margins, reportedly reaching George Bush’s short list for VP in 1988.  He retired after 2008. (Sept. 13)

Thomas Irvin, 88, a Georgia Democrat who served ten terms as the state agriculture commissioner from 1969 through 2010, longer than anyone in history. (Sept. 14)

Herbert Kalmbach, 95, who as President Nixon’s personal lawyer was convicted for illegally funneling money to the Watergate burglars, as well as to interim Alabama Gov. Albert Brewer, who was being challenged in 1970 by former governor George Wallace, whom the Nixon administration wanted beaten.  He served a reduced sentence of 191 days in prison.  (Sept. 15)

Bill Goodling, 89, a moderate Pennsylvania Republican who succeeded his father George in Congress in 1974 and served until his retirement in 2000.  An ally of incoming speaker Newt Gingrich, Goodling, who fought for education programs, became chair of the House Education Cmte in 1994; when term limits ended his chairmanship in 2000, he retired. (Sept. 17)

Daniel Yankelovich, 92, a widely respected pioneer in public opinion research. (Sept. 22)

Sam Young, 94, an Illinois Republican who unseated Rep. Abner Mikva (D) in 1972, lost a tight rematch in 1974 and, in 1976, lost by an even closer margin, 201 votes out of more than 213,000 cast. (Sept. 23)

Joseph McDade, 85, an 18-term Pennsylvania Republican House member who was first elected in 1962, succeeding gov. candidate Bill Scranton, and served through the end of 1998, when he retired.  Conservative on social issues and a big booster of the military, McDade was a known for securing money for projects in his native Scranton.  He was indicted in 1992 on bribery and racketeering charges over his failure to report gifts, but he was acquitted in 1996. (Sept. 24)

John Miller, 79, a Washington Republican who served eight years in the House, winning an open GOP seat in 1984 and retiring after 1992. (Oct. 4)

Tom Mathews, 96, a liberal strategist and fundraiser who worked for presidential candidates Robert Kennedy (1968), Mo Udall (1976), John Anderson (1980) and Gary Hart (1984), among others. (Oct. 14)

Dennis Banks, 80, the founder of the American Indian Movement who often used violent tactics in response to the treatment of Native Americans and who was the 2016 VP nominee of the Peace and Freedom Party, a ticket led by Gloria La Riva. (Oct. 29)

Judy Martz, 74, a Montana Republican who was elected as her state’s first and only female governor in 2000 and served one term.  As lt. gov., she succeeded the term-limited Gov. Marc Racicot.  But her political future suffered a disastrous blow in 2001 when her chief policy adviser was the driver of a car that crashed and resulted in the death of a passenger, and Martz was ridiculed for washing her adviser’s clothes after the crash, a strange decision from which she never recovered.  She decided not to seek re-election in 2004. (Oct. 30)

James Martin, 99, a one-term Republican House member from Alabama who gave up his seat in 1966 to run for governor, only to get trounced by Lurleen Wallace, wife of the term-limited George Wallace.  Martin was a long shot challenger to Sen. Lister Hill (D) in 1962 but came within 6,000 votes of a shocking upset, thanks to the unpopularity of the Kennedy Administration and its civil rights policies.  In 1964, with Barry Goldwater sweeping Alabama in the presidential race, Martin defeated the favored Democrat to win a seat in Congress.  He also sought Senate races in 1972, where he lost the GOP primary to Winton Blount, and again in ’78, when as the Republican nominee he lost to Democrat Howell Heflin.  At his death Martin was the oldest living former member of Congress. (Oct. 30)

Jimmy Tayoun, 87, a colorful former Democratic member of the Philadelphia city council and the Pennsylvania state House who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Thomas Foglietta in the 1984 Dem primary and who later went to prison on racketeering, mail fraud and tax evasion charges. (Nov. 1)

Orval Hansen, 91, a three-term Republican congressman from Idaho, who first won the state’s 2nd CD seat in 1968, when George Hansen, the incumbent and no relation, ran for the Senate.  Orval’s tenure in the House ended in 1974 when George — who had lost another Senate bid in 1972 — challenged him in the GOP primary. (Nov. 2)

Bobby Baker, 89, a protege of Sen. Lyndon Johnson (D-Texas) whose vast influence on Capitol Hill came to an end with his indictment on tax evasion, theft and fraud in 1967; he eventually went to prison in 1971. (Nov. 12)

Steve Mostyn, 46, a prolific Democratic fundraiser from Texas. (Nov. 15)

Jack Robinson III, 57, an African-American Republican from Massachusetts who was his party’s nominee for the Senate in 2000, when he failed to break 13% of the vote against Dem incumbent Ted Kennedy.  He sought the Senate once again, in the special 2009 GOP primary, but lost to Scott Brown for the seat of the late Sen. Kennedy. (Nov. 20)

Maurice Hinchey, 79, an upstate New York Democrat who won the House seat vacated by Matt McHugh (D) in 1992 and served until his retirement after 2012.  In Congress he was a strong advocate for the environment and became a fierce opponent of fracking. (Nov. 22)

Marvin Watson, 93, the postmaster general under President Lyndon Johnson from April 1968 to the end of Johnson’s term. (Nov. 26)

Warren Spannaus, 86, a three-term state attorney general of Minnesota who was the Democratic Party’s (DFL) preferred candidate for governor in 1982 but lost the primary to ex-Gov. Rudy Perpich. (Nov. 27)

Marianne Means, 83, a longtime political columnist and White House correspondent for the Hearst newspaper chain. (Dec. 2)

John Anderson, 95, an Illinois Republican who began his 20-year congressional career in 1960 as a strong conservative, moved towards the middle on issues such as war and civil rights, sought the GOP presidential nomination in 1980 and, when that was going nowhere, became an independent candidate appealing to liberals in both parties.  Early in his tenure he was a Goldwater Republican.  But in 1968, he cast the key vote in the Rules Cmte that brought the Open Housing Bill to the House floor for its ultimate passage, a vote that began his transformation to the political center.  He rose to become chair of the House Republican Conference, #3 in the party leadership, but not every conservative was pleased with him.  In April of 1980, in the midst of his uphill bid for the White House, he became an independent candidate, combining fiscally conservative positions with liberal social views, and chose former Wisconsin Gov. Pat Lucey, a Democrat, as his running mate.  The ticket received about 6.6% of the vote. (Dec. 3)

Mickey Carroll, 86, a former New York political reporter (most memorably for the New York Times but also for Newsday, Herald Tribune, Journal American and the Post) who became the influential assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll. (Dec. 6)

Fred Doocy, 104, a Connecticut Democrat who briefly served as lt. gov. in the mid 1960s. (Dec. 7)

Roy Reed, 87, a former New York Times reporter who famously covered the civil rights movement in the South in the 1960s. (Dec. 10)

Vera Katz, 84, who served three terms as a Democratic mayor of Portland, Ore., first elected in 1992 and serving through 2004. (Dec. 11)

Ed Lee, 65, the mayor of San Francisco who became its first Asian-American mayor in 2011 when the incumbent, Gavin Newsom, resigned to be lt. gov. of California.  Lee was easily re-elected in 2015. (Dec. 12)

Pat DiNizio, 62, the lead singer for the Smithereens who was the Reform Party candidate for the Senate from New Jersey in 2000, an election won by Democrat Jon Corzine. (Dec. 12)

March Fong Eu, 95, who was elected California secretary of state in 1974 and re-elected four times.  In 1994 she resigned when President Bill Clinton appointed her ambassador to Micronesia.  Earlier, she was briefly a candidate for the Senate seat held by Republican Pete Wilson but dropped out of the Democratic contest in 1987 because of fundraising difficulties. (Dec. 21)

Marcus Raskin, 83, the co-founder of the Institute for Policy Studies, a leftwing think tank.  His son Jamie Raskin is a Democratic House member from Maryland. (Dec. 24)


2 thoughts on “Remembering Those Who Left Us In 2017”

  1. A couple of small corrections:

    1. March Fong Eu was the first Asian-American to be elected statewide in the continental U.S. But Hawaii had elected several before 1974: Hiram Fong, Daniel Inouye and at least two lieutenant governors (William Richardson, 1962, and George Ariyoshi, 1970).

    2. Jim Martin lost the GOP primary for the Senate in 1972, not 1974. And in 1978 he didn’t lose the Republican primary; he won it.

    Thanks for all you do, and have a great New Year!


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