Remembering Those Who Left Us In 2019

It goes without saying that as disheartening and dispiriting as this year was, 2020 — with a Senate impeachment trial and a presidential election and all that go with it — is going to be worse.

For now, at least, let’s stop and remember those who left us this year, those 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 2019.  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.

Sylvia Chase, 80, one of the first female network TV correspondents, having worked for CBS, ABC and PBS. (Jan. 3)

Harold Brown, 91, the secretary of defense under President Carter. (Jan. 4)

Larry Langford, 72, who was elected mayor of Birmingham, Ala., in 2007 but whose tenure came to an end two years later when he was convicted on bribery charges and went to prison. (Jan. 8)

Harris Wofford, 92, a longtime crusader for civil rights who played a key role in electing John Kennedy president in 1960 and who was an upset winner in a special 1991 Senate election following the death of John Heinz (R).  Gov. Robert Casey (D) appointed Wofford to fill the seat, but the underdog Wofford, running on a platform of abortion rights and health care, beat ex-Gov. Dick Thornburgh with 55% of the vote.  In his bid for a full term in 1994, he lost to Republican Rick Santorum.  (Jan. 21)

Jack Brinkley, 88, a Georgia Democrat first elected to Congress in 1966 when the seat’s incumbent, Republican Bo Callaway, ran for governor, and who served until his retirement in 1982. (Jan. 23)

Tom Raum, 74, an AP reporter for 44 years who covered Congress, politics and 3 presidents. (Jan. 25)

Charles Hynes, 83, elected district attorney of Brooklyn in 1989 and served 24 years until losing the 2013 Dem primary to Kenneth Thompson.  He sought his party’s nomination for governor in 1998 but lost to Peter Vallone. (Jan. 29)

Bob Friend, 88, the ace of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitching staff that won the 1960 World Series against the Yankees and who, as a Republican, was elected Allegheny County (PA) controller in 1967. (Feb. 3)

John Marsh, 92, a conservative Democratic congressman from Virginia (1963-70) who later worked in three Republican administrations (Nixon, Ford, Reagan) and who was Reagan’s secretary of the Army.   He was also a longtime friend and ally of Ford’s. (Feb. 4)

Jim McManus, 84, the last of the bosses of New York’s Tammany Hall Democratic Party in Manhattan, centered in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. (Feb. 4)

John Dingell Jr., 92, a Michigan Democrat who was the longest serving member in the history of Congress, succeeding his late father in 1955 and serving until his retirement in 2014, where he was succeeded by his wife, Debbie Dingell.  One of the House’s most powerful, and feared, members, he became chair of the Energy & Commerce Cmte in 1981, where he wielded enormous power.  As a strong ally of Detroit’s auto industry, he often clashed with environmentalists; it was his positions on climate change and clean air that helped topple him as cmte chair after the 2008 elections, where he lost out to California’s Henry Waxman.  He also fought for civil rights, health care and gun rights. (Feb. 7)

Bert McKasy, 77, a former member of the Minnesota House, he twice sought the GOP nomination for the Senate, losing at the 1994 convention to Rod Grams and in the 1996 primary to Rudy Boschwitz. (Feb. 8)

WALTER JONES JR., 76, a conservative Republican congressman from NC who broke with party orthodoxy on numerous issues, most notably on the war in Iraq.  Son of a longtime conservative Democratic congressman who retired in 1992, Jones tried to succeed him but lost in the Dem primary.  He switched to the GOP in 1994 and, in a neighboring district, defeated Democratic incumbent Martin Lancaster.  A strong supporter of the invasion of Iraq in the aftermath of 9/11 — he pushed for “French fries” to be renamed “freedom fries” — he turned against the war over false intelligence reports about Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction” and emotionally apologized for his previous views.  The Bush administration and establishment Republicans often put up candidates against him in the primaries but to no avail. (Feb. 10)

Lyndon LaRouche, 96, an eccentric conspiracy theorist/extremist who ran for president 8 times, starting in 1976 under the U.S. Labor Party and then as a Democrat, who invariably professed left-wing as well as right-wing views. (Feb. 12)

Jack Coghill, 93, a longtime Alaska Republican who switched to the Alaskan Independence Party and was elected lt. gov. in 1990 on the ticket led by ex-GOP Gov. Walter Hickel (who returned to the governorship that year).  He was also the AIP’s gov. nominee in 1994. (Feb. 13)

Ray Price, 88, a Richard Nixon speechwriter starting in 1967 who penned the words of both his inaugural address and his resignation. (Feb. 13)

Patrick Caddell, 68, a Democratic pollster who helped Jimmy Carter win the presidency in 1976 but who later drifted to the right and became a Fox News commentator who advised Trump supporters. (Feb. 16)

William Broomfield, 96, a Michigan Republican who during his 36 years in the House (1957-1992) was a leading GOP voice on foreign policy. (Feb. 20)

Frank Ballance, 77, a Democrat from North Carolina who was elected to the House in 2002, following the retirement of Eva Clayton (D), but who resigned in June of 2197204, citing health issues.  Later that year he pleaded guilty in a fraud scheme when he was in the NC state legislature and spent three years in prison. (Feb. 22)

Jeffrey Hart, 88, a conservative and strong anti-communist who wrote for National Review and drafted speeches for Nixon and Reagan but who left the GOP over the war in Iraq, leading him to vote for Dem presidential candidates John Kerry and Barack Obama. (Feb. 24)

Dennis Richardson, 69, the current secretary of state of Oregon who was the GOP nominee for governor in 2014, when he lost to incumbent Democrat John Kitzhaber. (Feb. 26)

Edward Nixon, 88, brother of the late President Richard Nixon. (Feb. 27)

Norma Paulus, 85, an Oregon Republican whose election as secretary of state in 1976 made her the first woman elected statewide.  After her second term, she was the GOP nominee for governor in 1986 but lost to Democrat Neil Goldschmidt.  She also ran for the Senate in the special 1995 primary election caused by the resignation of Bob Packwood; she lost to Gordon Smith. (Feb. 28)

Ogden Reid, 93, who was first elected to the House from New York as a Republican in 1960, defeating GOP incumbent Edwin Dooley in the primary.  After a tough win in the 1970 primary from a candidate to his right, Reid switched to the Democratic Party in 1972 and won again.  In 1974 he decided to seek his new party’s nomination for governor but, garnering little support, he dropped out well before the primary. (March 2)

Keith Miller, 94, who as Alaska’s secretary of state ascended to the governorship in January 1969 when Walter Hickel resigned to join the Nixon Cabinet.  Seeking a full term in 1970, he defeated Rep. Howard Pollock in a tough GOP primary but fell to William Egan (D), a former governor seeking a comeback, in November.  He sought the governorship once more, in 1974, but lost that primary as well to Jay Hammond. (March 2)

Bobbi Fiedler, 81, a California Republican who ran on Ronald Reagan’s coattails and upset Rep. James Corman (D) in 1980 and served until she left the House in 1986 to seek the GOP Senate nomination to take on Alan Cranston.  She got into a bizarre skirmish during the primary over accusations that she tried to bribe a rival, state Sen. Ed Davis, to get out of the race.  Regardless, she finished a weak 4th in the primary won by Rep. Ed Zschau. (March 3)

Ralph Hall, 95, a conservative Texas congressman who was elected as a Democrat in an open seat in 1980, switched to the GOP in 2004, and served until losing the Republican primary to John Ratcliffe in 2014; at the time, Hall was 91, the oldest person ever to serve in the House and along with Michigan’s John Dingell, was its last surviving World War II veteran. (March 7)

Dick Nichols, 92, a Kansas Republican who was elected to the House in 1990 in an open GOP seat but whose district was eliminated in the 1992 redistricting.  He ran in the Republican primary in another district but lost.  (March 7)

Mel Miller, 79, who as the Democratic speaker of the New York Assembly was one of the most powerful figures in state government until he was forced out of office in 1991 for a (later overturned) fraud conviction. (March 8)

Harry Hughes, 92, a two-term Democratic governor of Maryland, trouncing ex-Sen. Glenn Beall Jr. (R) in 1978 after upsetting acting Gov. Blair Lee III in the Dem primary, and then whipping Thomas Mooney four years later.  He succeeded two scandal-tarred incumbents, first Spiro Agnew and then Marvin Mandel.  Earlier, in 1964, he ran for the House but lost to GOP incumbent Rogers Morton. (March 13)

Birch Bayh, 91, a former 3-term Democratic senator from Indiana (1963-80) who was the principal architect of two constitutional amendments: the 25th, which dealt with presidential succession and disability, and the 26th, which gave 18-year olds the right to vote.  He also played a leading role in the passage of Title IX, which barred sex discrimination at schools and expanded sports programs for women.  Bayh ousted GOP Sen. Homer Capehart in 1962 and was re-elected in ’68 (over William Ruckelshaus) and ’74 (over Dick Lugar).  In 1980 he fell victim to the Ronald Reagan landslide and lost to Rep. Dan Quayle.  He made a brief bid for the White House in 1972 but went all out in 1976.  But after a disappointing finish in Iowa and NH, he was out of the race by March.  In 1964, a plane carrying Bayh, his wife, Sen. Ted Kennedy and others crashed in Mass.; the pilot and a Kennedy aide were killed.  Bayh managed to drag Kennedy out of the plane, saving his life. His son Evan Bayh served as Indiana governor and senator. (March 14)

Bill Burlison, 88, a Missouri Democrat who won an open congressional seat in 1968 and served until his defeat to Republican Bill Emerson in 1980. (March 17)

Bill Phelps, 84, a two term lt. gov. of Missouri first elected in 1972, whose attempt to move up to the governorship was thwarted by Kit Bond in the 1980 Republican primary. (March 19)

Jim Moody, 83, a Democratic congressman from Wisconsin, winning an open seat in 1982 and serving until 1992, when he sought his party’s nomination for the Senate but lost badly to Russ Feingold. (March 22)

Fred Malek, 82, a longtime adviser to GOP presidents who is, regrettably, perhaps best known for his role in 1971 when, as White House chief of personnel, he was ordered by Nixon to count the number of Jews in the Bureau of Labor Statistics because of how the bureau was attributing a drop in the unemployment rate (which Nixon attributed to a “Jewish cabal” against him.  He was later the deputy chairman of the RNC and John McCain’s national finance chair in 2008. (March 24)

Robert Sweet, 96, the top deputy mayor to NYC’s John Lindsay in his first (1966-69) term. (March 24)

Kenneth Gibson, 86, who became the first black mayor of Newark, NJ after a tough 1970 race against white incumbent Hugh Addonizio.  He was reelected in 1974 against Anthony Imperiale, a leader in white resentment sentiment, and served until 1986, when he lost to fellow African-American Sharpe James.  He also sought the Democratic nomination for governor in 1981 and 1985. (March 29)

Ernest (“Fritz”) Hollings, 97, a sharp-tongued South Carolina Democrat who was the state’s lt. governor (elected in 1954), governor (1958) and then senator for 38 years (starting in 1966).  Hollings first ran for the Senate in 1962 but lost in the primary to incumbent Olin Johnston.  After Johnston died in 1965, Gov. Donald Russell had himself appointed to the Senate seat.  Hollings challenged Russell in the 1966 primary and defeated him in a landslide.  He was narrowly elected that November but won landslide re-elections in 1968, 1974, 1980 and 1986, the last one against Henry McMaster, who is currently the governor.  Hollings had tougher races in 1992 (50% vs. Rep. Tommy Hartnett) and 1998 (53% vs. Rep. Bob Inglis), but won them both.  He retired in 2004.  He started off in the Senate as a reliable conservative — he voted against Thurgood Marshall’s appointment to the Supreme Court in ’67 — but moved away from segregationist rhetoric in the intervening years.  He sought the presidency in 1984 but got nowhere in the Democratic primaries, where the nomination went to Walter Mondale. (April 6)

Michael Busch, 72, a Maryland Democrat and the longest House speaker in state history. (April 7)

Marc Connolly, an unsuccessful candidate for governor of N.H. in the 2016 Democratic primary. (April 13)

Manuel Lujan Jr., 90, a New Mexico Republican who served 20 years in a Democratic-leaning district and who later became Interior Secretary under President George Bush.  He first came to Congress by unseating Democratic incumbent Thomas Morris in 1968 and was reelected nine times, retiring after 1988. (April 25)

Ken Rothman, 83, a Missouri Democrat who was elected lt. gov. in 1980, defeating now-Sen. Roy Blunt, but who was defeated in his bid for the governorship four years later by John Ashcroft (R). (April 26)

Dick Lugar, 87, the longest serving senator in Indiana history, a conservative Republican and leading voice on foreign policy whose dignity, modesty and civility won him friends in both parties.  He was first elected mayor of Indianapolis in 1967, where he became known as “Nixon’s Favorite Mayor.”  He challenged Sen. Birch Bayh (D) in 1974, during the anti-Republican Watergate midterm election, and lost.  But two years later he returned to take on Sen. Vance Hartke and beat him in a landslide.  After a relatively close reelection race in 1982, he won landslide victories in ’88, ’94, 2000 and 2006; in that last contest, the Democrats didn’t even put up a candidate against him.  But the tide turned in 2012, when a conservative challenger, Richard Mourdock, labeled Lugar “Obama’s Favorite Mayor” and focused on the senator’s lack of a residence in the state.  He defeated Lugar in a stunning upset but lost the seat to a Democrat in November.  Lugar made a bid for the White House in 1995, having the bad luck of announcing his candidacy the same day as the terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City.  He was never a factor in the battle for the nomination, which was won by Bob Dole.  In the Senate he played a leading role in the effort to control nuclear weapons.  (April 28)

Ellen Tauscher, 67, a seven-term centrist Democratic House member from California who resigned to join the State Dept as an arms-control adviser to President Obama.  She was first elected to Congress in 1996, unseating GOP Rep. Bill Baker in a close contest, and served until her resignation in June 2009. (April 29)

Donald Lan, 88, the appointed secretary of state of N.J. who was a Democratic hopeful for governor in 1981. (April 29)

Rafael Hernandez Colon, 82, a three-term governor of Puerto Rico (1973-76, 1985-92)  who supported the status quo commonwealth status for the island. (May 2)

Frank Ivancie, 94, an Oregon Democrat who served five years as mayor of Portland.  He first ran for mayor in 1976, when he lost to incumbent Neil Goldschmidt in the primary.  After Goldschmidt left in 1979 to join the Carter Cabinet, Ivancie ran against the appointed mayor and defeated her in the primary.  Seeking another term in 1984, Ivancie fell in the primary to Bud Clark. (May 2)

Susan Beschta, 67, who went from a punk rock band (The Erasers), where she was known as Susan Springfield, to becoming an immigration judge in NYC. (May 2)

Richard Brown, 86, the current Queens District Attorney for nearly 30 years — the longest in history — whose term was up this year and who announced his plan to resign on June 1.  He was first appointed to the post by Gov. Mario Cuomo in June 1991 following the resignation of John Santucci, and was easily reelected ever since. (May 4)

Thomas Hynes, 80, the Cook County Assessor who challenged Chicago Mayor Harold Washington in 1987, briefly in the Democratic primary and then as a general election candidate; with diminishing support, he dropped out of the race three days before the election. (May 4)

Chris McNair, 93, a civil rights leader from Alabama whose 11-year old daughter Denise was one of four girls killed in the horrific 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.  In 1972 he was one of the first blacks elected to the state legislature, and he was defeated in Dem primary bids for the House in 1978 and the Senate in 1992. (May 8)

Bill Workman, 78, the mayor of Greenville, S.C. who was the Republican nominee for the House seat being vacated by gov. candidate Carroll Campbell in 1986 but lost to Democrat Liz Patterson. (May 12)

Alice Rivlin, 88, the budget director under President Clinton. (May 14)

Edmund Morris, 78, who wrote great biographies of Teddy Roosevelt and a not-so-great one of Ronald Reagan. (May 24)

Thad Cochran, 81, the first Republican elected senator from Mississippi since Reconstruction who served a total of 45 years in Congress until his health-related resignation in 2018.  He was first elected to the House in 1972, narrowly winning an open Democratic seat.  But he easily won two more contests until 1978, when longtime Democratic Sen. James Eastland, a strong segregationist, retired.  Cochran won and was re-elected comfortably five more times.  It was not comfortable in 2014, when he was challenged in the GOP primary by Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel.  McDaniel, who accused Cochran of being out of touch and attacked his career of pork barrel spending, led the senator in the first round of the primary.  But because neither received a majority, it went to a runoff, which Cochran won in a squeaker.  His health failing, he resigned his seat in April of 2018 and was succeeded by Cindy Hyde-Smith, who was appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant. (May 30)

Don Fraser, 95, a liberal 8-term House member from Minnesota who co-chaired (with George McGovern) the 1971 commission that changed the way Democrats nominate their presidential candidates.  He came to Congress in 1962 when he toppled GOP Rep. Walter Judd and served until 1978, when he was narrowly upset by Bob Short in a special Senate primary to fill the seat of Muriel Humphrey, who decided not to run to fill her late husband’s seat.  Later he was elected mayor of Minneapolis and served four terms, longer than anyone in history. (June 2)

David Bergland, 83, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for VP in 1976 (on the ticket led by Roger MacBride) and president in 1984. (June 3)

Tony Rodham, 64, Hillary Clinton’s younger brother who married his first wife, Nicole Boxer (daughter of Sen. Barbara Boxer), in the Rose Garden at the White House. (June 7)

Martin Feldstein, 79, President Reagan’s chief economic adviser. (June 11)

James McCord, 93, one of the burglars who broke into the headquarters of the DNC at the Watergate office building in 1972, setting off a scandal that would ultimately lead to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. (Note:  McCord died on June 15, 2017, but his death was not reported until April of 2019)

Alan Brinkley, 70, a noted presidential historian and a son of the late journalist David Brinkley. (June 16)

Jan Meyers, 90, a moderate Kansas Republican who was first elected to Congress 1984, succeeding the retiring Larry Winn, and served until her own retirement after 1996.  Earlier, in 1978, she ran for the Senate but lost the GOP primary to Nancy Kassebaum. (June 21)

Whitney North Seymour Jr., 95, who was President Nixon’s choice for U.S. Attorney in Manhattan and who successfully prosecuted former Reagan aide Michael Deaver in 1987.  He also lost in bids for the House in 1968 (to Ed Koch) and the Senate in 1982 (in the GOP primary). (June 29)

Lee Iacocca, 94, who ran the Ford Motor Co. and later the Chrysler Corporation, and who was the object of a draft effort in 1988 for the Democratic presidential nomination. (July 2)

Ross Perot, 89, a Texas billionaire who played off dissatisfaction with President George Bush and Democratic challenger Bill Clinton by running as an independent in 1992 and winning a record 19 million votes, the most ever for a third presidential candidate, receiving 18.9% of the vote, the highest since ex-President Teddy Roosevelt in 1912.  He focused on economic issues, mostly the spiraling deficit.  He ran again in 1996, this time as a candidate of the Reform Party, but he was far less of a factor. (July 9)

William Dannemeyer, 89, a conservative Republican who served 7 terms in the House from southern California, best remembered for his assaults on “militant homosexuality.” One of the most rightwing members of Congress, he was first elected in an open district in 1978 and gave up his safe seat to run for the Senate in 1992, when he lost the primary to John Seymour, who was appointed to the seat vacated by Pete Wilson; he lost another Senate primary attempt in ’94.  In 2004, the widowed Dannemeyer married a Holocaust denier and promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. (July 9)

Paul Markham, 89, a close friend of Sen. Ted Kennedy who was with him in the hours after the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident in which the car Kennedy was driving plunged off a bridge, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne.  Shortly after the incident, Kennedy got Markham and a cousin, Joseph Gargan, to return to the scene, where Markham repeatedly dived into the waters to try and reach Kopechne. (July 13)

Sterling Tucker, 95, a civil rights organizer who in 1974 became the first chairman of the popularly elected Washington, DC city council and who, four years later, ran for mayor, when he lost a close contest to Marion Barry. (July 14)

John Paul Stevens, 99, who for 35 years was a liberal Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, appointed by President Ford in 1975.  Stevens, who replaced William O. Douglas on the Court, was confirmed by a vote of 98-0.  When he retired, in 2010, President Obama picked Elena Kagan to succeed him. (July 16)

John Tanton, 85, a leading anti-immigrant activist and the founder of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. (July 16)

Wesley Pruden, 83, the former editor-in-chief of the conservative Washington Times. (July 17)

James Harvey, 97, a Michigan Republican who was elected in 1960 to the House seat being vacated by Senate candidate Alvin Bentley and served until President Nixon appointed him to a seat on the U.S. District Court in 1973.  In the closely watched battle for his seat in a special 1974 election, the victory went to Democrat Bob Traxler. (July 20)

Robert Morgenthau, 99, who served a  record 34 years as Manhattan’s district attorney (1975-2009) and who ran for governor twice, losing to Nelson Rockefeller in 1962 and trying again for the Dem nomination in 1970.  His father, Henry Morgenthau, was treasury secy under FDR. (July 21)

Paul Krassner, 87, a counter-culture journalist, activist, editor of The Realist magazine and co-founder of the Yippies. (July 21)

William Schulz, 80, a conservative journalist who was active in YAF, worked for National Review and Human Events and who became the executive editor of Reader’s Digest. (July 22)

Dick Stone, 90, a conservative Democrat who served one term as a Florida senator and who later was President Reagan’s special envoy to Central America.  In 1974 he won a close primary against Rep. Bill Gunter and then beat Republican Jack Eckerd in November.  Six years later Gunter returned the favor, defeating Stone in a tight Democratic primary runoff, citing Stone’s support for the Panama Canal treaties.  He was the first Jew popularly elected to the Senate from the South. (July 28)

Richard Rosenbaum, 88, a Nelson Rockefeller loyalist who served as chairman of the New York GOP and unsuccessfully twice sought his party’s nomination for governor, in 1982 (to Lew Lehrman) and 1994 (to George Pataki). (July 28)

Brooks Patterson, 80, a Michigan Republican and the longtime county executive of Oakland County who finished third in the 1982 GOP primary for governor. (Aug. 3)

Thomas Gulotta, 75, a Republican from New York’s Long Island who served as Nassau County Executive for 14 years.  Elected in 1981 as the presiding supervisor for the Town of Hempstead following Al D’Amato’s election to the Senate, Gulotta was appointed county exec in 1987 after Francis Purcell, a fellow Republican, resigned, he served until 2001, when Nassau’s financial situation grew so bleak the county GOP refused to back him for another term.  Gulotta retired, and the Democrats won the post for the first time in 30 years. (Aug. 4)

Paul Findley, 98, an 11-term moderate GOP congressman from Illinois (1961-82), who became a leading force behind the War Powers Act and whose narrow 1982 defeat, at the hands of Democrat Dick Durbin, was attributed to Findley’s support for Arab causes and criticism of Israel. (Aug. 9)

Kathleen Blanco, 76, the governor of Louisiana whose political career essentially ended when Hurricane Katrina ripped through her state in 2005.  A Democrat and the state’s lt. gov., she was elected as LA’s first female governor in 2003 in a narrow victory over Republican Bobby Jindal.  The public’s response to her actions during Katrina led her to retire after one term, where she was succeeded by Jindal. (Aug. 18)

David Koch, 79, who with his brother Charles, a fellow billionaire, became a major influence in GOP politics, moving the party to the libertarian right; in fact, Koch himself was the VP nominee of the Libertarian Party in 1980.  Their huge financial wherewithal (spending several hundreds of millions of dollars) helped elect Republicans around the country, from local state legislative races to the House and Senate.  The Koch Brothers however steered clear of Donald Trump in 2016, feeling he was not a true conservative; plus, their support for a more open immigration policy contrasted drastically with Trump’s.  Nonetheless, Trump won and the Kochs’ influence among the president’s supporters shrank. (Aug. 23)

Lila Cockrell, 97, who served four two-year terms as mayor of San Antonio. (Aug. 29)

James Leavelle, 99, the police detective who was handcuffed to accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in a Dallas police station when Oswald was shot to death by Jack Ruby. (Aug. 29)

Bernard Grabowski, 96, a Connecticut Democrat who was elected his state’s at-large congressman in 1962, when incumbent Frank Kowalski left to run for the Senate.  After the state’s redistricting, he defeated Republican Tom Meskill in a landslide in 1964, but Meskill — who later became governor — returned the favor in ’66, winning narrowly. (Aug. 30)

Leslie Gelb, 82, a former reporter with the New York Times where he headed up the team that published the Pentagon Papers and who later served as chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. (Aug. 31)

Robert McClelland, 89, a surgeon at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital who on 11/22/63 tried to save the life of President John Kennedy and, two days later, the same for Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. (Sept. 10)

Sander Vanocur, 91, a TV journalist who, while with NBC, was a panelist in the first Kennedy-Nixon debate and whose tough questioning of Nixon eventually earned him a spot on Nixon’s “enemies list.”  Later, with ABC, he was the moderator of the 1984 Bush-Ferraro debate and a panelist in a 1992 Clinton-Bush-Perot debate. (Sept. 16)

Cokie Roberts, 75, a trail-blazing journalist for NPR (since the late 1970s) and ABC News (since 1988) who throughout her career was a tireless advocate for women in media.  She was the daughter of House Majority Leader Hale Boggs (D-LA), who disappeared in a 1972 plane crash, and Lindy Boggs, his widow who succeeded him in Congress.  She was also responsible for Ken Rudin becoming NPR’s first political editor in 1991, which was in many ways a good thing. (Sept. 17)

Robert Boyd, 91, a reporter for the Knight Ridder newspaper chain who broke the story that 1972 Democratic VP nominee Thomas Eagleton had undergone electroshock therapy for depression, a revelation that forced him off George McGovern’s ticket.  He was also a panelist at the 1984 VP debate between George Bush and Geraldine Ferraro. (Sept. 18)

Maurice Ferre, 84, the first Hispanic mayor of Miami, elected in 1973 and served until his defeat 12 years later to Xavier Suarez, the city’s first Cuban-born mayor.  He unsuccessfully tried to regain his job in 1987 and 2001, and was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the Senate in 2010. (Sept. 19)

Mark Plotkin, 72, a longtime radio host and fervent advocate for D.C. statehood. (Sept. 22)

Roger Zion, 98, a four-term Republican member of Congress from Indiana.  He was elected in 1966 on his second try against Democratic incumbent Winfield Denton and served until the Watergate year of 1974, when he was knocked off by Philip Hayes. (Sept. 24)

Plato Cacheris, 90, a top DC lawyer who represented John Mitchell during Watergate, Rep. Ozzie Myers (D-PA) during ABSCAM, and Monica Lewinsky during, well, that. (Sept. 26)

Jack Edwards, 91, a Republican from Alabama who was first elected to Congress thanks to Barry Goldwater’s coattails in 1964 and served until his retirement 20 years later. (Sept. 27)

Joseph Wilson, 69, a diplomat who fought with President George W. Bush over the reasons for the invasion of Iraq and whose then-wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA officer as part of a retaliation effort. (Sept. 27)

Bill Hamilton, 86, a New Jersey state senator who gave up his seat in 1981 to run for governor, but he finished 10th in the Democratic primary. (Oct. 10)

Lou Frey, 85, a Florida Republican who won Senate candidate Ed Gurney’s House seat in 1968 and regularly won landslide re-elections until 1978, when he sought the GOP nomination for governor but lost to Jack Eckerd.  He also ran for the Senate in 1980 (losing the GOP nomination to Paula Hawkins) and for governor again, in 1986 (beaten in the primary by Bob Martinez). (Oct. 14)

ELIJAH CUMMINGS, 68, a Maryland Democrat who as the chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Cmte played a key role in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.  A liberal Democrat, he nonetheless won plaudits and friendships from across the aisle due to his decency and humanity.  He won national attention in February of 2019 when former Trump fixer Michael Cohen testified before his cmte on hush money payments to women who claimed they had affairs with Trump.  The president responded with disparaging tweets, directed both at Cummings (a “racist” and a “brutal bully”) and his city of Baltimore (a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess”).  He was first elected to the House in 1996, after Kweisi Mfume resigned to become president of the NAACP and served until his death.  He was a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. (Oct. 17)

Alan Diamonstein, 88, a powerful centrist Democrat who served in the Virginia state legislature for 34 years (1968-2001) and who, in 2001, sought his party’s nomination for lt. gov. but lost to then-Richmond Mayor Tim Kaine. (Oct. 17)

William Milliken, 97, a moderate Republican who was the longest serving governor of Michigan in history.  As LG, he succeeded to the governorship in Jan. 1969 after George Romney left to join the Nixon Cabinet.  He was elected to a full term in 1970 and re-elected four years later, both times against Sander Levin, who was later a member of the House.  He won a third full term in 1978 over William Fitzgerald, an election in which he swept predominantly black Wayne County (Detroit).  Towards the end of his tenure he began to battle with the conservative wing of his party; in 2004 he endorsed John Kerry for president. (Oct. 18)

Thomas D’Alesandro III, 90, a former mayor of Baltimore who was the brother of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the son of another ex-Baltimore mayor and congressman.  “Young Tommy” was elected mayor in 1967, five months before the city exploded in the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.  He decided against seeking a second term in ’71. (Oct. 20)

Joanne Zimmerman, 82, the lt. gov. of Iowa from 1987-90 who initially sought the governorship herself in 1990 but dropped out to run once more for lt. gov. on the ticket led by Don Avenson, which lost to the Republicans and Gov. Terry Branstad. (Oct. 22)

Leroy Johnson, 91, who in 1962 became the first African American to be elected to the Georgia Senate since 1870.  He served until his defeat in 1974; the year before, he was beaten in a bid to become mayor of Atlanta. (Oct. 24)

Ray Jenkins, 89, whose four decades in journalism focused on civil rights, Martin Luther King Jr. and George Wallace. (Oct. 24)

Maurice Nadjari, 95, a crusading crime busting prosecutor appointed by NY Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, whose many convictions were reversed on appeal.  He was also the GOP nominee for Queens district attorney in 1977, when he lost to Democrat John Santucci. (Oct. 25)

John Conyers, 90, the longest serving African-American member of Congress in history and one of its most liberal members.  Elected to Congress from a newly-created district in Michigan in 1964, Conyers opposed the Vietnam, Persian Gulf and Iraq wars, fought for a national holiday for Martin Luther King Jr., and took on the Reagan Administration’s efforts for a “constructive engagement” with the apartheid government of South Africa.  As a member of the Judiciary Cmte, Conyers voted for the impeachment of President Nixon in 1974 but against the same action directed at President Clinton in 1998.  His career unraveled in 2017 after several women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment, and he was pressured to resign his seat.  He proclaimed his innocence to the end.  He was also beaten badly in two attempts, in 1989 and again in ’93, to become mayor of Detroit. (Oct. 27)

Kay Hagan, 66, a one-term moderate Democratic senator from North Carolina, having unseated Republican Elizabeth Dole in 2008 and losing six years later to Thom Tillis by fewer than two percentage points. (Oct. 28)

Gerald Baliles, 79, a Virginia Democrat who was elected governor in 1985, when he defeated Wyatt Durrette (R). (Oct. 29)

William Hughes, 87, who knocked off Rep. Charles Sandman (R-NJ) in the Watergate election of 1974 and served until his retirement 20 years later. (Oct. 30)

Bob Traxler, 88, a Michigan Democrat who won a GOP House seat in a special election in the spring of 1974 that was seen as a barometer for feelings about Watergate and served until redistricting forced his retirement after 1992. (Oct. 30)

Hunter Pitts (Jack) O’Dell, 96, a top aide to Martin Luther King Jr. at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference who was dismissed by King under pressure by JFK after the president learned O’Dell had been a Communist in the 1950s. (Oct. 31)

Jerome Wilson, 88, a former Manhattan state senator who was the Democratic nominee for Congress in 1966, when he lost to incumbent Republican Theodore Kupferman. (Nov. 1)

Carrie Saxon Perry, 87, whose election of mayor of Hartford in 1987 made her the first black woman to head up a major New England city. (Nov. 22)

Cathy Long, 95, who won a special House election in Louisiana after her husband, Rep. Gillis Long (D), died in 1985.  She declined to seek re-election in 1986 and her seat was won by Republican Clyde Holloway, who ran unsuccessfully against her in the ’85 special. (Nov. 23)

William Ruckelshaus, 87, who as deputy attorney general refused President Nixon’s order to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox and lost his job in the process (part of the “Saturday Night Massacre”).  He was also the first administrator of the EPA (named by Nixon in 1970) and was the GOP nominee vs. Indiana Sen. Birch Bayh in 1968. (Nov. 27)

Jay Kriegel, 79, the chief of staff to NYC Mayor John Lindsay who later became an influential city power broker. (Dec. 5)

Berkley Bedell, 98, a Democrat who ousted GOP Rep. Wiley Mayne in Iowa on his second try in 1974 and served until his retirement in 1986. (Dec. 7)

Paul Volcker, 92, the powerful chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1979-87. (Dec. 8)

Richard Hatcher, 86, elected mayor of Gary, Ind., in 1967, first ousting white mayor Martin Katz in the Dem primary and then winning in November against a Republican in a divisive election filled with racial overtones.  He along with Cleveland’s Carl Stokes were among the first blacks to be elected in a major city.  He served five terms until he lost renomination in 1987 to Thomas Barnes. (Dec. 13)

Wense Grabarek, 100, the mayor of Durham, N.C. (1963-70) who sought a congressional seat in 1972 but finished well behind Rep. L.H. Fountain, the Democratic incumbent who won, and main challenger Howard Lee, the mayor of Chapel Hill. (Dec. 15)

Bentley Kassal, 102, who as a member of the New York state Assembly from Manhattan unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Leonard Farbstein in the 1962 Democratic primary. (Dec. 16)

Fred Rooney, 94, a Pennsylvania Democrat who was elected to the House in a special 1963 election following the death of Rep. Francis Walter (D) and who served until his defeat at the hands of Republican Don Ritter in 1978. (Dec. 23)

Jocelyn Burdick, 97, the wife of long-serving North Dakota Sen. Quentin Burdick (D) who was appointed to fill his seat following his death in September 1992 but who did not run in the special election later that year to succeed him. (Dec. 26)

Neal Peirce, 87, one of America’s top political minds who knew more about history, Washington, the states and urban life than most. (Dec. 27)


Fred Richmond, 96, Brooklyn Democrat, served in House, elected 1974, arrested 78 for soliciting sex from a 16-year old boy, investigation for corruption, resigned 1982 (Dec. 28)

Ken Melley, 85, a former longtime government relations official with the National Education Assn. (Dec. 10)



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