Remembering Those Who Left Us In 2020

The worst year ever?  Certainly in our lifetime.  But for the first time in a long time, there is a sense that things *might* get better in the new year, regarding both the virus and civility.  We can only hope.

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 2020.  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.

Mike Fitzpatrick, 56, a moderate Pennsylvania Republican who won an open GOP seat in the House in 2004, lost it to Patrick Murphy (D) in 2006, and came back to beat Murphy in the 2010 rematch.  He retired in 2016 and his seat was won by his brother Brian, who still serves. (Jan. 6)

Robert Sarcone, 94, who finished third in the 1977 GOP primary for governor of New Jersey. (Jan. 12)

H.L. Bill Richardson, 92, a pro-gun rights far-right conservative who was a longtime member of the California state senate but who failed to win his larger campaigns:  1962 for Congress, losing to George Brown (D); 1974, as the GOP Senate nominee vs. Alan Cranston; and 1992 for Congress, losing to Rep. Vic Fazio (D). (Jan. 13)

Harry Haskell, 98, who served one term in the House as a Delaware Republican, knocking off Rep. Harris McDowell (D) in 1956 but losing the rematch two years later.  He sought the governorship in 1964 but was defeated at the GOP convention.  Elected mayor of Wilmington in 1968 — the last Republican to hold the post — he helped rebuild the city torn apart by violence in the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. (Jan. 16)

Walter Powell, 88, an Ohio Republican who was elected to Congress in 1970, winning the seat vacated by gov. hopeful Buz Lukens, and retired after 1974. (Jan. 17)

Terence Hallinan, 83, a pugnacious San Francisco politician who served as district attorney for two terms before losing to Kamala Harris in 2003.  In his first race, for S.F. supervisor in 1977, he lost to Harvey Milk.  His father, Vincent Hallinan, was the Socialist Workers presidential candidate in 1952. (Jan. 17)

George Herbert Walker III, 88, a cousin of both Presidents Bush and ambassador to Hungary whose one bid for public office, in a 1992 House GOP primary in Missouri, was thwarted by Jim Talent. (Jan. 18)

Egil “Bud” Krogh, 80, an aide to President Nixon who headed up the secret White House “Plumbers” unit and went to prison for his role in the break-in of Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. (Jan. 18)

Bill Greenwood, 77, an ABC News correspondent who covered, among other things, the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington in 2001. (Jan. 19)

Tom Railsback, 87, a moderate Republican congressman from Illinois who voted to impeach President Nixon as a member of the House Judiciary Cmte in 1974.  With Nixon in to campaign for him, Railsback ousted Rep. Gale Schisler (D) in 1966 and continually won landslide re-election bids.  But with the redistricting of 1982, he was unseated in the GOP primary by Kenneth McMillan, a conservative, who then went on to lose the seat to a Democrat. (Jan. 20)

Jim Lehrer, 85, the longtime anchor at PBS who moderated 12 presidential debates and had a reputation for even handedness. (Jan. 23)

Pete Stark, 88, a longtime liberal Democrat from California who accomplished much during his 40 years in the House but who alienated nearly everyone with his temperament.  He ousted the octogenarian Rep. George P. Miller in the 1972 primary and spent much of his career leading the fight for health care; he helped write part of the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act.  He probably would have become chairman of the Ways & Means Cmte had he not been so personally obnoxious.  In 2012, with California having changed its elections system, he was defeated in November by a fellow Democrat, Eric Swalwell. (Jan. 24)

Gale Schisler, 86, an Illinois Democrat who ousted GOP Rep. Robert McLoskey in the 1964 LBJ landslide but held the seat for only one term, losing to Republican Tom Railsback in 1966. (Feb. 2)

Bob Cashell, 81, who served one term (1983-86) as the Republican lt. gov. of Nevada and was later elected to multiple terms as mayor of Reno. (Feb. 11)

Clayton Williams, 88, a Texas Republican who would have become governor of Texas, and beaten Ann Richards in the process, if he were a more disciplined candidate.  A heavy favorite in 1990, he self-sabotaged his candidacy with ill-advised comments about rape (“If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it”), refused to shake Richards’ hand at a debate, and revealed that he failed to pay income taxes in 1986.  His three-point loss to Richards was the last time a Republican lost a Texas gov. race. (Feb. 14)

Bob Jordan, 87, a one-term Democratic lt. gov. of North Carolina who was defeated in a 1988 effort to move up, losing to GOP Gov. Jim Martin. (Feb. 16)

Rafael Cancel Miranda, 89, the last surviving Puerto Rican nationalist/terrorist who fired on members of Congress in 1954, wounding five. (March 2)

Bobbie Battista, 67, a CNN reporter who anchored, among other things, the network’s coverage of the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan’s life. (March 3)

Wendell Goler, 70, the former chief White House correspondent for Fox News. (March 3)

Amo Houghton, 93, a moderate-to-liberal Republican from upstate New York who served nine terms in the House, winning an open seat in 1986 and retiring in 2004.  He was one of just six Republicans to vote against the 2002 resolution authorizing President Bush to go to war in Iraq. (March 4)

Jack Buechner, 79, a Missouri Republican who ousted Rep. Robert Young (D) on his second try in 1986 and served until 1990, when he lost to Democrat Joan Kelly Horn by just 54 votes. (March 6)

Tom Turnipseed, 83, who started in politics as a segregationist and who worked for George Wallace’s presidential candidacy in 1968, only to morph into a pro-civil rights and progressive politician, including a stint on the ADA’s national board.  He was the Dem nominee for Congress in 1980, losing to Rep. Floyd Spence (R), and was briefly a candidate for governor in 1978, when he dropped out due to lack of funds. (March 6)

Susan Hammer, 81, a former two-term mayor (1991-98) of San Jose, Calif. (March 7)

Don Bailey, 74, who served two terms as a Democratic member of the House from Pennsylvania, winning an open Dem seat in 1978 and serving until 1982, when redistricting merged his district with that of fellow Democrat John Murtha, who won the primary convincingly.  Bailey was elected state Auditor General in 1984 but was defeated after one term by Republican Barbara Hafer.  In 1986 he finished second in the Dem Senate primary (losing to Bob Edgar) and in 1998 he was the runnerup in the Dem gov. primary (losing to Ivan Itkin). (March 9)

Boris Yaro, 81, the Los Angeles Times photographer who took the iconic picture of a distraught busboy in the Ambassador Hotel pantry kneeling over the body of the mortally wounded Robert F. Kennedy. (March 11)

Richard Hanna, 69, a moderate Republican from upstate New York and the first GOP congressman to endorse Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016.  Elected on his second try over Rep. Michael Arcuri (D) in 2010, he had no trouble winning re-election but was starting to face opposition in the Republican primary; in 2014 he survived a tough challenge from state Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney.  He had already announced his retirement in 2016 when he endorsed Clinton. (March 15)

Ronnie Thompson, 85, the mayor of Macon who was the 1974 GOP nominee for governor of Georgia, losing to George Busbee. (March 22)

Larry Rasky, 69, a longtime adviser to Joe Biden who served as his press secretary during his 1988 presidential bid and worked with him during his 2008 and 2020 campaigns. (March 22)

Richard Reeves, 83, a journalist, columnist and author, often challenging presidents of both parties. (March 25)

John Sears, 79, a former Nixon strategist who signed on with Ronald Reagan’s 1976 primary challenge to President Ford and helped convince Reagan to choose liberal Sen. Richard Schweiker as his running mate, but who, as Reagan’s campaign manager, was fired shortly before Reagan’s key victory in the 1980 N.H. primary that propelled him to the nomination and presidency. (March 26)

Joseph Lowery, 98, a civil rights leader, close ally of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and president of the SCLC for 20 years. (March 27)

Tom Coburn, 72, an Oklahoma Republican who won an open Democratic House seat in 1994, kept to a term-limits pledge and retired in 2000.  Four years later, with GOP Sen. Don Nickles retiring, Coburn rejoined the political arena, knocked off the party favorite in the primary, and easily beat Rep. Brad Carson (D), who succeeded him in the House, in November.  The iconoclastic and far right Coburn was known as “Dr. No” in both the House and Senate, where he often feuded with his fellow Republicans, and while he was a solid and principled conservative, especially on social and fiscal matters, he had a good relationship with President Obama.  A landslide re-election winner in 2010, he resigned at the end of 2014 due to health concerns. (March 28)

Jim Redden, 91, a Democrat who served as Oregon’s state treasurer (1973-76) and attorney general (1977-80) but who failed in his 1974 bid for governor, finishing third in the primary. (March 31)

Greg Carman, 83, a one-term Republican congressman from Long Island, who defeated Dem incumbent Jerome Ambro in 1980 but who didn’t seek re-election in 1982 when the legislature eliminated five seats, including Carman’s, in which had he run he would have had to face a fellow Republican incumbent. (April 5)

Ronnie Earle, 78, who during his 30 years as Travis County (Austin) district attorney went after politicians of both parties, securing indictments against Texas AG Jim Mattox (R), Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R) — but Mattox was acquitted, the charges against Hutchison were dismissed, and a Texas court overturned DeLay’s conviction.  He lost the Dem primary for lt. gov. in 2010. (April 5)

Ivan Itkin, 84, the Dem nominee for governor of Pennsylvania in 1998, when he got clobbered by GOP incumbent Tom Ridge. (April 5)

Faith, 96, a perennial presence at D.C. political events and a nine-time candidate for mayor, most recently in 2014. (April 7)

Richard Brodsky, 73, a longtime liberal state assemblyman from New York who briefly ran for atty gen in 2006 before dropping out, and ran again in 2010, when Andrew Cuomo was giving up the job, but he lost the Dem primary. (April 8)

Linda Tripp, 70, who betrayed her friendship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky by recording their conversations, which led to President Clinton’s impeachment in 1998. (April 8)

Abigail Thernstrom, 83, a neo-conservative social scientist who served on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and argued against affirmative action. (April 10)

Ruth Mandel, 81, who help found the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. (April 11)

John Briggs, 90, a California state senator in 1978 when he offered up his “Briggs Amendment,” which would have removed gay and lesbian school employees from their jobs.  He had hoped the issue would catapult him to the governorship that year, but he withdrew from the GOP primary with a month to go when he failed to make any headway. (April 15)

Jane Dee Hull, 84, a conservative Republican who was the first woman elected as governor of Arizona.  She was secretary of state in 1997 when the scandal-plagued GOP Gov. Fife Symington was forced to resign and she moved up; she was elected in her own right the following year, winning a landslide over Democrat Paul Johnson.  She was constitutionally barred from seeking re-election in 2002.  She died only hours after her husband of 66 years passed. (April 16)

Richard Fenno, 93, a congressional scholar who wrote books about Dan Quayle, John Glenn and others, and spent more than four decades teaching at the University of Rochester.  (April 21)

Terry Lenzner, 80, a Democratic private investigator and feared oppo researcher. (April 23)

Ron Marlenee, 84, an eight-term Republican congressman from Montana, first winning in 1976 when Democrat John Melcher left to seek a Senate seat, and serving until 1992, when his district was merged with Democrat Pat Williams’, and Williams won the election.  He served longer in the House than any other Montana Republican. (April 26)

Paul O’Neill, 84, whose independence cost him the job of Treasury Secy under President George W. Bush after just two years. (April 28)

William Haddad, 91, a New York consumer advocate and Kennedy campaign worker who help found the Peace Corps and  who, encouraged by RFK, challenged Rep. Leonard Farbstein of Manhattan from the left in the 1964 Dem primary but lost. (April 30)

Eddie Mahe, 83, the former executive director of the RNC and a longtime Republican consultant. (May 3)

Ann McBride Norton, 75, the first woman to serve as president of Common Cause. (May 5)

Barry Farber, 90, a longtime NYC radio talk show host who was the Republican nominee for Congress in Manhattan in 1970 (when he lost to Bella Abzug) and, in 1977, after he lost the NYC GOP mayoral primary to Roy Goodman, ran as the Conservative Party nominee; both were clobbered by Democrat Ed Koch. (May 6)

Byron Mallott, 77, an Alaska Democrat elected lt. gov. in 2014 but who resigned in 2018, later discovered to be because of sexual harassment allegations. (May 8)

Phyllis George, 70, a former Miss America and sports broadcaster who was the First Lady of Kentucky during the tenure of Gov. John Y. Brown Jr. (May 14)

Howard Nielson, 95, a Republican who was elected to a newly-created House seat from Utah in 1982 and served until 1990, when he retired to do missionary work with his wife. (May 20)

William Keating, 93, an Ohio Republican who won Senate candidate Robert Taft Jr.’s House seat in 1970 and served until leaving in ’74 to become president (and later publisher) of the Cincinnati Enquirer.  His late brother was Charles Keating, who went to prison for S&L fraud scandals. (May 20)

George Floyd, 46, a black man whose senseless killing by Minneapolis police woke many Americans up to the scourge of systemic racism in the country. (May 25)

Arlie Schardt, 87, the press secretary for Al Gore’s 1988 presidential campaign. (May 25)

Sam Johnson, 89, who was tortured as a POW in a North Vietnamese prison for nearly 7 years and who came to the House as a conservative Texas Republican in a 1991 special election following the resignation of Steve Bartlett, the new mayor of Dallas.  He retired after 2018. (May 27)

Hugh Parmer, 80, a Democratic state legislator from Texas and mayor of Fort Worth who was the longshot nominee vs. Sen. Phil Gramm in 1990 and who also twice ran for the House, first losing a primary in 1984 and then falling to Kay Granger (R) in 1996.

Larry Kramer, 84, a playright and gay rights activist who early on demanded gov’t action in the battle against AIDS. (May 27)

Jim Lake, 82, a Republican political consultant who played key roles in the campaigns of Ronald Reagan and George Bush. (May 29)

Louis Sheldon, 85, the founder of the Traditional Values Coalition that fought against gay rights and abortion. (May 29)

Gwen Margolis, 85, a former Florida state legislator who was the Dem nominee vs. Rep. Clay Shaw (R) in 1992, when she lost by 15 points. (June 9)

William Sessions, 90, the FBI director from 1987-93 who oversaw the raids on Ruby Ridge and Waco and who was fired by President Clinton over accusations of financial misconduct. (June 12)

John Richardson, 62, who, as speaker of the Maine House of Reps, launched a campaign to be governor in 2010 but dropped out shortly before the Democratic primary (June 16)

Arthur Gottschalk, 95, a Republican state senator from Illinois who briefly sought his party’s gov. nomination in 1968. (June 17)

Jean Kennedy Smith, 92, the last surviving sibling of John/Bobby/Ted Kennedy and President Clinton’s ambassador to Ireland. (June 17)

Florence Sullivan, 90, a Republican member of the New York assembly who stunned Whitney North Seymour to win the 1982 GOP Senate primary but who got clobbered by incumbent Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan in November. (June 21)

David Sandretti, 59, a longtime Democratic staffer on Capitol Hill and more recently a communications consultant. (June 23)

Harry Britt, 82, a leading gay rights advocate who was appointed to the San Francisco board of supervisors by Mayor Dianne Feinstein in 1978 following the murder of Harvey Milk and who, in 1987, was among the candidates who hoped to succeed the late Rep. Sala Burton (D), a race won by Nancy Pelosi. (June 24)

Emma Sanders, 91, a black activist from Mississippi who led an impassioned challenge to the state’s all-white Democratic delegation at the 1964 Dem convention in Atlantic City. (June 24)

Thomas Blanton, 82, the last surviving Klansman who bombed a church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963, killing four black girls. (June 26)

Wayne Mixson, 98, a Florida Democrat who was elected lt. gov. on the ticket led by Bob Graham in 1978 and who thought about succeeding Graham after his tenure ended in 1986.  Instead, with Graham getting elected to the Senate and having to resign early, Mixson became governor — for 72 hours. (July 8)

Ron de Lugo, 89, the first person to become congressional non-voting delegate from the Virgin Islands, serving as a Democrat from 1973-78 — leaving in ’78 for an unsuccessful bid for governor of the Virgin Islands — and then returning to Congress from 1981-94. (July 14)

JOHN LEWIS, 80, a civil rights hero who was a close associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,  survived beatings from Alabama state troopers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge during the Selma march of 1963, and represented Atlanta in Congress since 1987.  A founder of SNCC and the last surviving speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, he made his first run for Congress in 1977, seeking the seat of Andrew Young, who had become President Carter’s UN ambassador.  In that race, Lewis was defeated by a white candidate, Wyche Fowler.  When Fowler gave up the seat in 1986 for a Senate bid, Lewis ran again.  This time he faced a longtime ally in the civil rights movement, Julian Bond.  The race got ugly and personal, but Lewis won, thanks in part to the support of white voters.  He was long heralded for his moral leadership on justice and human rights. (July 17)

Frazier Reams Jr., 90, the Democratic nominee for governor of Ohio in 1966, when he lost in a landslide to incumbent Republican Jim Rhodes. (July 20)

Charles Evers, 97, the brother of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers and who was elected mayor of Fayette, Miss., in 1969, defeated in ’81, re-elected in ’85 and lost again in ’89.  He also sought an open House seat in 1968, ran as an independent for governor in 1971 (losing to Democrat William Waller 77-22%), and ran as an independent for an open Senate seat in 1978; his strong support from black voters probably hurt the Democratic nominee and helped elect Republican Thad Cochran).  A strong supporter of RFK’s presidential bid in 1968, he became a Republican in 1980 and endorsed Ronald Reagan.  He was also a strong backer of Donald Trump. (July 22)

Joe Kernan, 74, a POW in North Vietnam for 11 months in 1972-73 who later became mayor of South Bend and was elected lt. gov. of Indiana in 1996 on the ticket led by fellow Democrat Frank O’Bannon.  Re-elected in 2000, Kernan became governor in September of 2003 when O’Bannon died after a stroke.  Kernan sought a full term as gov. in 2004 but lost to Republican Mitch Daniels. (July 29)

Herman Cain, 74, a 2012 Republican presidential hopeful whose campaign, once considered to be leading the field (with his “9-9-9” tax plan), came to a crashing end in the wake of sexual harassment allegations and reports of a longtime extramarital affair; he was out of the race by December 2011.  In his first bid for office, a Senate run in Georgia in 2004, he lost the primary to Johnny Isakson.  A supporter of the president, he last appeared in public at a Trump rally in Tulsa in June, where he was seen not wearing a mask; two weeks later he announced he had contracted Covid-19 and was dead not long after. (July 30)

Pete Hamill, 85, a colorful son of NYC who spent years as a columnist and reporter for the tabloids New York Post and the Daily News, in addition to stints at Newsday, The Village Voice and Esquire.  (Aug. 5)

Brent Scowcroft, 95, a Republican foreign policy expert and the national security adviser to Presidents Ford and Bush I. (Aug. 6)

Jim Thompson, 84, Illinois’ longest serving governor.  A crime-busting U.S. Attorney and a moderate Republican, in 1976 he defeated Mike Howlett, the secretary of state who had ousted incumbent Dan Walker in the Dem primary.  The date for Illinois governor then switched to non-presidential years, so Thompson had to run again in 1978, when he beat state Comptroller Mike Bakalis.  He narrowly won a third term in 1982 over former Sen. Adlai Stevenson III, and was expected to face another tough battle when Stevenson ran again in ’86.  But the Democratic Party was in disarray as followers of political extremist Lyndon LaRouche won two statewide primaries, and Stevenson decided to disassociate from them by running under a new party banner.  The turmoil helped Thompson win a landslide. (Aug. 14)

Robert Trump, 71, the younger brother of the president. (Aug. 15)

Claire Shulman, 94, who was appointed the first female borough president of Queens, N.Y. in January of 1986 after the incumbent, fellow Democrat Donald Manes, resigned in the midst of a scandal and a failed suicide attempt (another attempt proved successful two months later).  She won election on her own later that year and three more times after that, retiring in 2001. (Aug. 16)

Slade Gorton, 92, who as Washington’s atty gen toppled longtime Dem Sen. Warren Magnuson in 1980 on Ronald Reagan’s coattails but who was defeated six years later by Rep. Brock Adams (D).  In 1988, with GOP Sen. Dan Evans retiring, Gorton ran again and won, defeating Democrat Mike Lowry.   Gorton was easily re-elected in 1994, but in 2000 he lost in a squeaker to Maria Cantwell.  He was one of just 16 senators in history who came back to the office after having been voted out. (Aug. 19)

John Hager, 83, a moderate Republican from Virginia who was elected lt. gov. in 1997 and who tried to succeed outgoing Gov. Jim Gilmore (R) in 2001 but lost the GOP primary to Atty Gen. Mark Earley.  His son Henry is married to GWB daughter Jenna Bush. (Aug. 23)

Gail Sheehy, 83, a brilliant writer for Vanity Fair and New York magazine. (Aug. 24)

William Neikerk, 82, a former political reporter who spent nearly 35 years writing for the Chicago Tribune. (Aug. 27)

Steve Merrill, 74, a New Hampshire Republican who was elected governor in 1992, defeating Democrat Arnie Arnesen, won a landslide re-election in 1994, and then surprisingly walked away from elective politics in 1996. (Sept. 5)

Kevin Zeese, 64, a liberal activist who was a leader in the Green Party and served as independent Ralph Nader’s press secretary during the 2004 presidential campaign.  Zeese was also the Green nominee for the Senate from Maryland in 2006. (Sept. 6)

Lillian Brown, 106, a makeup artist for 9 presidents, from Eisenhower to Clinton. (Sept. 13)

RUTH BADER GINSBURG, 87, the second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, a leader of the Court’s liberal bloc and a champion of women’s rights.  Known affectionately as the “Notorious R.B.G.” later in life, she was appointed to the Court by President Clinton in June 1993 to replace the retiring Byron White, a JFK appointee; the Senate confirmed her by a vote of 96-3. (Sept. 18)

Bob Smith, 89, who had two stints as a Republican congressman from Oregon.  He was first elected in 1982, winning an open GOP seat, and served until his retirement after 1994.  But when his successor, fellow Republican Wes Cooley, was caught falsifying his military record and lying about it, Cooley resigned in August of ’96.  Party leaders pleaded with Smith to come out of retirement and take the nomination to run again, which he did, and he won.  He served just that one term and was succeeded by a more dependable Republican, Greg Walden. (Sept. 21)

Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr., 95, who (believe it or not) was one of two surviving grandsons of the nation’s 10th president, John Tyler, who served from 1841-45. (Sept. 26)

Mark Andrews, 94, a highly popular Republican congressman from North Dakota, who won a special 1963 election following the death of Rep. Hjalmar Nygaard (R), and spent much of his House career waiting for GOP Sen. Milton Young to retire.  When Young finally did, in 1980, Andrews won the seat with an astounding 70% of the vote.  But the Reagan budget deficits and falling farm prices were hurting Republicans throughout the country, including Andrews, who fell in a shocker to state Tax Commissioner Kent Conrad (D). (Oct. 3)

Sandy Keith, 91, a Minnesota Democrat who was elected lt. gov. on a ticket led by Karl Rolvaag in 1962, who then challenged Rolvaag for his job four years later.  Keith won the DFL endorsement but Rolvaag challenged that decision in the primary, where he beat Keith by a more than 2-1 margin.  But the split in the party led to the election in November of a Republican governor, Harold LeVander. (Oct. 3)

Mike Foster, 90, a two-term Republican governor of Louisiana whose tenure was widely seen as a welcome respite from the chaos of his predecessor, Edwin Edwards.  In 1995, with Edwards announcing he wouldn’t run again, Foster defeated Rep. Cleo Fields (D) in a runoff and four years later he won an easy re-election race.  He was criticized for accepting David Duke’s endorsement in the ’95 campaign, but he governed as a fair and business-oriented official. (Oct. 4)

Jim Weaver, 93, who was elected to Congress from Oregon in 1974, knocking off GOP incumbent John Dellenback.  He served until 1986, when he won the Dem primary for the Senate to take on Republican Bob Packwood.  But after the primary the House Ethics Cmte opened an investigation into his campaign finances, and he dropped out of the race in August. (Oct. 6)

Joseph Bruno, 91, who as state Senate Majority Leader (1995-2008) was one of the most powerful Republicans in New York but who resigned his Senate seat that he held for more than 30 years in 2008 when he was under investigation for financial misconduct. (Oct. 6)

Roberta McCain, 108, the matriarch of a family that included her son, John McCain (R-Ariz.), who died in 2018. (Oct. 12)

Jim Johnson, 76, a political powerbroker as the head of Fannie Mae in the 1990s and who chaired Walter Mondale’s presidential campaign in 1984.  He also briefly led the VP vetting process for Barack Obama in 2008. (Oct. 18)

Alan Boyd, 98, the nation’s first Transportation Secretary under President Johnson in 1967. (Oct. 18)

Terry McBrayer, 83, a Democratic state legislator from Kentucky who finished third in the 1979 gov. primary won by John Y. Brown Jr. (Oct. 21)

Peter Secchia, 83, a prominent Michigan Republican fundraiser and power broker. (Oct. 21)

Steve Abudato Sr., 87, a 1960s-era Democratic power broker out of Newark, N.J. (Oct. 21)

David Karnes, 71, a politically unknown Republican from Nebraska who was Gov. Kay Orr’s surprise pick to fill the Senate vacancy created by the 1987 death of Dem incumbent Ed Zorinsky.  Karnes was challenged in the 1988 primary by Rep. Hal Daub, whom most observers expected to get the appointment, but Karnes prevailed.  His good fortune ended in the general election, when he was clobbered by former Gov. Bob Kerrey (D). (Oct. 25)

Archie Spigner, 92, a long time power broker from Queens known as the “Godfather of Politics” who helped launch the careers of many black politicians. (Oct. 29)

John Dunne, 90, a powerful Long Island Republican who spent 23 years in the New York state senate but who left in 1989 when President Bush appointed him to help lead the Civil Rights division of the U.S. Justice Department. (Nov. 1)

Oscar McConkie Jr., 94, the unsuccessful Dem nominee against GOP Rep. William Dawson (R-Utah) in 1956. (Nov. 2)

Tom Metzger, 82, a notorious pro-Nazi white supremacist Klansman and anti-Semite who nonetheless won the Democratic nomination for Congress in California’s 43rd District in 1980 but got demolished by GOP Rep. Clair Burgener.  He also sought the Dem nod for the Senate in 1982, but finished at the bottom of the pack in the primary that was won by Jerry Brown. (Nov. 4)

Jim Ramstad, 74, a Minnesota Republican who succeeded the retiring Bill Frenzel in the House in 1990 and served until his retirement in 2008. (Nov. 5)

Mike McCormack, 98, a Democratic state lawmaker from Washington who ousted GOP Rep. Catherine May in 1970 and served 10 years in the House before losing himself, in 1980 to Republican Sid Morrison. (Nov. 7)

Richard Neely, 79, who before he became Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court was a challenger to fellow Democrat Jennings Randolph, seeking re-election, in 1972. (Nov. 8)

Roger Jepsen, 91, who was a former lt. gov. of Iowa in 1978 when he knocked off Sen. Dick Clark (D), campaigning as a “born again,” pro-family values conservative.  But as he was campaigning for re-election in 1984 against the liberal Rep. Tom Harkin (D), newspapers reported that Jepsen had joined a “private health spa” in 1977 that was later shut down for prostitution.  Harkin won an easy victory. (Nov. 13)

Jay Kurttula, 92, who finished third in the 1978 Democratic primary for governor of Alaska. (Nov. 13)

David Dinkins, 93, the first black mayor of NYC.  As Manhattan Borough President, he challenged Mayor Ed Koch, seeking a 4th term, in the 1989 Democratic primary and defeated him; in November, he narrowly beat GOP nominee Rudy Giuliani.  Koch was vulnerable because the city was engulfed in racial strife, his administration was often hit with scandal, and his rhetoric was caustic and exhausting.  Dinkins offered himself as a thoughtful, caring and low key alternative.  But he was unable to solve many of the problems, and his mishandling of racial violence in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in 1991 led to his undoing in 1993, when he lost to Giuliani in the rematch. (Nov. 23)

Bruce Herschensohn, 88, a conservative Republican radio & TV commentator from California who lost his bid for the Senate against Barbara Boxer (D) in 1992.  He had previously run in 1986, when he lost the primary to Rep. Ed Zschau. (Nov. 30)

Rafer Johnson, 86, a 1960 Olympic decathlon medal winner who was close to the Kennedy family and who helped wrestle Sirhan Sirhan, RFK’s assassin, to the ground after he fired the bullets in Los Angeles in 1968. (Dec 2)

Weston Vivian, 96, a one-term Democratic member of Congress from Michigan, unseating GOP Rep. George Meader in 1964 but losing his seat two years later to Republican Marvin Esch and again in ’68. (Dec. 4)

Paul Sarbanes, 87, a Maryland Democrat who unseated Rep. George Fallon, the chairman of the House Public Works Cmte, in the 1970 primary, served on the House Judiciary Cmte during the 1974 impeachment effort against President Nixon, and then served five terms in the Senate before retiring in 2006.  In the 1976 Senate race, Sarbanes first defeated ex-Sen. Joe Tydings in the primary and then ousted GOP Sen. J. Glenn Beall Jr. in November.  Never seriously challenged again, he was best known for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which curbed fraudulent corporate accounting practices. (Dec. 6)

Wallace Barnes, 94, a Connecticut GOP legislative leader who ran for governor in the state’s first ever primary, in 1970, losing to Rep. Tom Meskill. (Dec. 10)

Earl Hutto, 94, a conservative Florida Democrat who was first elected to Congress in 1978 and served until his retirement in 1994. (Dec. 14)

Don Fowler, 85, a South Carolinian who chaired the DNC from 1995 to 1997. (Dec. 15)

Benny Napolean, 65, the Wayne County sheriff who ran and lost for mayor of Detroit in 2013. (Dec. 17)

William Winter, 97, whose one term as governor of 1966 Mississippi marked a break from its racist past.  He first ran for gov. in 1967 and though he campaigned as a segregationist, it wasn’t enough to defeat Rep. John Bell Williams, a more overt racist, in the Democratic primary runoff (though Winter led in the first round).  Similarly, when he ran again, in 1975, he finished first in the primary but fell in the runoff, this time to Cliff Finch.  On his third try, in 1979, he trailed Lt. Gov. Evelyn Gandy in the initial primary but won convincingly in the runoff.  Mississippi had not yet turned to a GOP state, and Winter easily won the general election over Gil Carmichael.  As governor, he vastly improved the state’s education system.  In 1984, his last run for office, he challenged his good friend, GOP Sen. Thad Cochran, but lost in a landslide.  (Dec. 18)

LUKE LETROW, 41, a Louisiana Republican and the congressman-elect from the state’s 5th district, who was the chief of staff to retiring Rep. Ralph Abraham and won a Dec. 3rd GOP runoff to take the seat.  He was to have been sworn in on Jan 3. (Dec. 29)

Dick Thornburgh, 88, a two-term Republican governor of Pennsylvania whose handling of the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident won plaudits.  Elected in 1978 and again in ’82, he later became attorney general under Presidents Reagan and Bush.  He quit in ’91 to run for the Senate seat that opened up following the death of GOP incumbent John Heinz.  Thornburgh went into the race a heavy favorite but lost in an upset to Harris Wofford, the Democrat who was appointed to fill the seat by Gov. Bob Casey.  Thornburgh had also sought a congressional seat in 1966 but lost to the Dem incumbent. (Dec. 31)



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