Waxman Departure Marks End Of Watergate Dem Class Of 1974

And then there was none.

Waxman 001The announcement on Thursday (1/30) that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) will retire after this year means that the Democratic House class of 1974 — the group of 75 Democratic “Watergate babies” who came to Congress in the election of November 1974 — will be no longer.  Waxman and his fellow California Democrat George Miller, who made the same announcement earlier this month (see PJ 1/15/14), are leaving, perhaps with the realization that their party won’t be a majority in the House any time soon, but knowing that they had full and effective careers.  It could also be about frustration.  “Nothing seems to be happening,” Waxman said.

Waxman, 74, is one of the most influential House members in history.  He played a major role in writing the Affordable Care Act, and while it is too soon to call Obamacare a triumph, it is clearly one of the key domestic legislative accomplishments of recent decades.  The New York TimesJonathan Weisman lists more of his successes:

“Mr. Waxman will leave behind a legacy of entrenched accomplishments, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which extends coverage to millions of low-income children; anti-tobacco, food safety and food-labeling laws; and the Ryan White Care Act, which allocates billions of dollars in federal money for the treatment of H.I.V. and AIDS.

He is also credited with laying the foundation for many of the executive actions that Mr. Obama, during his State of the Union address on Tuesday, pledged to pursue. One involves the Clean Air Act, which Mr. Waxman helped write and which gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authority it is now exercising to regulate power plant emissions of greenhouse gases. Mr. Waxman saw to it that the bill would allow the president, on his own, to order improvements in automobile fuel efficiency and other energy saving efforts.”

Waxman also often clashed with Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the imposing chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, usually over environmental issues.  He challenged Dingell in 2008 for the chairmanship and he won — though he lost that title when the GOP captured the House two years later.

Waxman and Miller are the last two members of the House who have continuously served in that body since they were first elected in 1974.  Another, Rick Nolan of Minnesota, retired after 1980 but returned to the House last year after a 32-year absence.  Republican Charles Grassley and Democrat Tom Harkin, both of Iowa, and Montana Democrat Max Baucus also were first elected that year but later went on to the Senate (in 1980, 1984 and 1978 respectively) and have been there ever since (Baucus and Harkin are leaving this year).

Waxman’s 33rd CD, which includes Malibu, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, is all but assured of staying in Democratic hands in the November election.  One of the potential candidate names being bandied about is Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.  In 2012, after decades of winning by overwhelming margins, Waxman had his first serious challenge to his seat.  He won with just 54% of the vote against an independent candidate.  There is no significant GOP vote here.

When Dems ruled.  In the aftermath of the 1974 election results, Democrats held 291 House seats to 144 for the Republicans, thanks to the huge class of “Watergate babies.”  Here’s a list of those 75 Democrats who were first elected that November and what happened to them.

Watergate babies 001
Among the Democrats first elected in the Watergate year of 1974 were Jim Florio (N.J.), Paul Tsongas (Mass.), Tim Wirth (Colo.) and Jim Blanchard (Mich).

CA 07 — George Miller

Election: Won seat vacated by unsuccessful Dem gov. candidate Jerry Waldie.

Left Congress: Still in office but has announced his retirement. Elected to his 20th term in 2012 with 70% of the vote.

CA 13 — Norm Mineta

Election: Won seat of retiring Republican Charles Gubser.

Left Congress: 1995, resigned to work for a defense contractor.

CA 17 — John Krebs

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Bob Mathias.

Left Congress: 1978, defeated by Republican Charles Pashayan.

CA 24 — Henry Waxman

Election: New district.

Left Congress: Still in office but has announced his retirement.  Elected to his 20th term in 2012 with 54% of the vote.

CA 34 — Mark Hannaford

Election: Defeated GOP Craig Hosmer.

Left Congress: 1978, lost to Republican Dan Lungren.

CA 35 — Jim Lloyd

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Vic Veysey.

Left Congress: 1980, lost to Republican David Dreier.

CA 38 — Jerry Patterson

Election: Won seat of retiring Democrat Richard Hanna.

Left Congress: 1984, lost to Republican Bob Dornan.

CO 02 — Tim Wirth

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Donald Brotzman.

Left Congress: 1992. He was elected to the Senate in 1986 and retired after one term.

CT 02 — Chris Dodd

Election: Won seat vacated by unsuccessful GOP gov. candidate Robert Steele.

Left Congress: 2010. He was elected to the Senate in 1980 and retired after five terms.

CT 06 — Toby Moffett

Election: Won seat vacated by victorious Dem gov. candidate Ella Grasso.

Left Congress: 1982. Challenged Republican Sen. Lowell Weicker and lost.

GA 04 — Elliott Levitas

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Ben Blackburn.

Left Congress: 1984, lost to Republican Pat Swindall.

GA 07 — Larry McDonald

Election: Defeated Rep. John Davis in Dem primary.

Left Congress: 1983, killed when the Korean airliner he was aboard was shot down by the Soviet Union.

IL 03 — Marty Russo

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Robert Hanrahan.

Left Congress: 1992, lost Democratic primary to fellow Dem incumbent William Lipinski.

IL 10 — Abner Mikva

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Samuel Young (previously served 1969-72).

Left Congress: 1979, resigned to accept appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

IL 15 — Tim Lee Hall

Election: Won seat of retiring Republican Leslie Arends.

Left Congress: 1976, lost to Republican Tom Corcoran.

IL 24 — Paul Simon

Election: Won seat of retiring Democrat Kenneth Gray.

Left Congress: 1996. He was elected to the Senate in 1984 and retired after two terms.

IN 02 — Floyd Fithian

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Earl Landgrebe.

Left Congress: 1982. Challenged Republican Sen. Dick Lugar and lost.

IN 06 — David Evans

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. William Bray.

Left Congress: 1982, lost Democratic primary to fellow Dem incumbent Andy Jacobs.

IN 08 — Philip Hayes

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Roger Zion.

Left Congress: 1976. Challenged Democratic Sen. Vance Hartke in Dem primary and lost.

IN 10 — Phil Sharp

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. David Dennis.

Left Congress: 1994, retired.

IN 11 — Andy Jacobs

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. William Hudnut (previously served 1965-72).

Left Congress: 1996, retired.

IA 02 — Michael Blouin

Election: Won seat vacated by victorious Dem Senate candidate John Culver.

Left Congress: 1978, lost to Republican Tom Tauke.

IA 05 — Tom Harkin

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. William Scherle.

Left Congress: Still in office but has announced his retirement. Elected to the Senate in 1984, and has been re-elected four times, most recently with 63 percent in 2008.

IA 06 — Berkley Bedell

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Wiley Mayne.

Left Congress: 1986, retired.

KS 02 — Martha Keys

Election: Won seat vacated by unsuccessful Dem Senate candidate Bill Roy.

Left Congress: 1978, lost to Republican Jim Jeffries.

KY 01 — Carroll Hubbard

Election: Defeated Rep. Frank Stubblefield in Dem primary.

Left Congress: 1992, lost Democratic primary to Tom Barlow.

MD 05 — Gladys Noon Spellman

Election: Won seat vacated by unsuccessful GOP gov. candidate Larry Hogan.

Left Congress: 1981. House declared her seat vacant after she failed to recover from a heart attack-induced coma.

MA 03 — Joseph Early

Election: Won seat of retiring Democrat Harold Donohue.

Left Congress: 1992, lost to Republican Peter Blute.

MA 05 — Paul Tsongas

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Paul Cronin.

Left Congress: 1984. Elected to the Senate in 1978 and retired after one term.

MI 06 — Bob Carr

Election: Won seat of retiring Republican Charles Chamberlain.

Left Congress: 1994, lost Senate race to Republican Spencer Abraham.

MI 17 — William Brodhead

Election: Won seat of retiring Democrat Martha Griffiths.

Left Congress: 1982, retired.

MI 18 — Jim Blanchard

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Robert Huber.

Left Congress: 1982, elected governor.

MN 06 — Richard Nolan

Election: Won seat of retiring Republican John Zwach.

Left Congress: 1980, retired.

Returned to Congress: 2012.

MN 08 — Jim Oberstar

Election: Won seat of retiring Democrat John Blatnik.

Left Congress: 2010, lost to Republican Chip Cravaack.

MT 01 — Max Baucus

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Richard Shoup.

Left Congress: Still in office.  Elected to the Senate in 1978 and re-elected five times, most recently with 73 percent in 2008.  Announced his retirement and has been nominated to be the next U.S. ambassador to China.

NH 01 — Norm D’Amours

Election: Won seat vacated by unsuccessful GOP Senate candidate Louie Wyman.

Left Congress: 1984. Challenged Republican Sen. Gordon Humphrey and lost.

NV At Large — Jim Santini

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. David Towell.

Left Congress: 1982. Challenged Democratic Sen. Howard Cannon in the Dem primary and lost.

NJ 01 — Jim Florio

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. John Hunt.

Left Congress: 1989, elected governor.

NJ 02 — William Hughes

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Charles Sandman.

Left Congress: 1994, retired.

NJ 07 — Andy Maguire

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. William Widnall.

Left Congress: 1980, lost to Republican Marge Roukema.

NJ 13 — Helen Meyner

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Joseph Maraziti.

Left Congress: 1978, lost to Republican Jim Courter.

NY 02 — Tom Downey

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. James Grover.

Left Congress: 1992, lost to Republican Rick Lazio.

NY 03 — Jerome Ambro

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Angelo Roncallo.

Left Congress: 1980, lost to Republican Gregory Carman.

NY 11 — James Scheuer

Election: Won seat of retiring Democrat Frank Brasco (previously served 1965-72).

Left Congress: 1992, retired.

NY 13 — Stephen Solarz

Election: Defeated Rep. Bert Podell in Dem primary.

Left Congress: 1992, lost Democratic primary to Nydia Velazquez.

NY 14 — Fred Richmond

Election: Won seat of retiring Democrat John Rooney.

Left Congress: 1982, resigned.

NY 15 — Leo Zeferetti

Election: Won seat vacated by victorious Dem gov. candidate Hugh Carey.

Left Congress: 1982, lost to Republican (and fellow incumbent) Guy Molinari.

NY 24 — Richard Ottinger

Election: Won seat vacated by unsuccessful Dem gov. candidate Ogden Reid (previously served 1965-70).

Left Congress: 1984, retired.

NY 27 — Matt McHugh

Election: Won seat of retiring Republican Howard Robison.

Left Congress: 1992, retired.

NY 29 — Ned Pattison

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Carleton King.

Left Congress: 1978, lost to Gerald Solomon.

NY 36 — John LaFalce

Election: Won seat of retiring Republican Henry Smith III.

Left Congress: 2002, retired.

NY 37 — Henry Nowak

Election: Won seat of retiring Democrat Thaddeus Dulski.

Left Congress: 1992, retired.

NC 05 — Stephen Neal

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Wilmer Mizell.

Left Congress: 1994, retired.

NC 08 — Bill Hefner

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Earl Ruth.

Left Congress: 1998, retired.

OH 23 — Ron Mottl

Election: Won seat of retiring Republican William Minshall.

Left Congress: 1982, lost Democratic primary to Edward Feighan.

OK 02 — Ted Risenhoover

Election: Won seat vacated by unsuccessful Dem gov. candidate Clem Rogers McSpadden.

Left Congress: 1978, lost Democratic primary to Mike Synar.

OK 06 — Glenn English

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. John Happy Camp.

Left Congress: 1994, resigned to head up rural electric lobbying association.

OR 01 — Les AuCoin

Election: Won seat of retiring Republican Wendell Wyatt.

Left Congress: 1992. Challenged Republican Sen. Bob Packwood and lost.

OR 03 — Bob Duncan

Election: Won seat of retiring Democrat Edith Green (previously served 1963-66).

Left Congress: 1980, lost Democratic primary to Ron Wyden.

OR 04 — James Weaver

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. John Dellenback.

Left Congress: 1986, retired.

PA 07 — Bob Edgar

Election: Won seat of Republican Lawrence Williams, who was defeated in GOP primary.

Left Congress: 1986. Challenged Republican Sen. Arlen Specter and lost.

RI 02 — Edward Beard

Election: Defeated Rep. Robert Tiernan in Democratic primary.

Left Congress: 1980, lost to Republican Claudine Schneider.

SC 03 — Butler Derrick

Election: Won seat vacated by unsuccessful Dem gov. candidate William Jennings Bryan Dorn.

Left Congress: 1994, retired.

SC 05 — Kenneth Holland

Election: Won seat of retiring Democrat Tom Gettys.

Left Congress: 1982, retired.

SC 06 — John Jenrette

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Edward Young.

Left Congress: 1980, lost to Republican John Napier.

TN 03 — Marilyn Lloyd

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. LaMar Baker.

Left Congress: 1994, retired.

TN 08 — Harold Ford

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Kuykendall.

Left Congress: 1996, retired.

TX 13 — Jack Hightower

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Robert Price.

Left Congress: 1984, lost to Republican Beau Boulter.

TX 21 — Robert Krueger

Election: Won seat of retiring Democrat O.C. Fisher.

Left Congress: 1978. Challenged Republican Sen. John Tower and lost.

UT 02 — Allan Howe

Election: Won seat vacated by unsuccessful Dem Senate candidate Wayne Owens.

Left Congress: 1976, lost to Republican Dan Marriott.

VA 08 — Herb Harris

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Stan Parris.

Left Congress: 1980, lost rematch to Parris.

VA 10 — Joseph Fisher

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Joel Broyhill.

Left Congress: 1980, lost to Republican Frank Wolf.

WA 03 — Don Bonker

Election: Won seat of retiring Democrat Julia Butler Hansen.

Left Congress: 1988, lost Democratic Senate primary to Mike Lowry.

WI 03 — Alvin Baldus

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Vern Thomson.

Left Congress: 1980, lost to Republican Steve Gunderson.

WI 08 — Robert Cornell

Election: Defeated GOP Rep. Harold Froehlich.

Left Congress: 1978, lost to Republican Toby Roth.

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This Day In Political History:  The Senate votes 58-42 to confirm Federal Appeals Court Judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court; he will replace the retiring Sandra Day O’Connor.  Only four Democrats — Ben Nelson (Neb.), Robert Byrd (W.Va.), Tim Johnson (S.D.) and Kent Conrad (N.D.) — vote for Alito, while one Republican (Lincoln Chafee of R.I.) votes against him.  The vote comes after a John Kerry-led filibuster attempt falls apart.  Alito is sworn in in time to attend President Bush’s State of the Union message (Jan. 31, 2006).

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3 thoughts on “Waxman Departure Marks End Of Watergate Dem Class Of 1974”

  1. Andy Jacobs (IN) just recently died. I supposed that still counts as “retired”, but I believe “dead” is a smidge more accurate. 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks for your note. “Retired” only referred to how Jacobs left Congress. There are many more from the Class of ’74 who have died; I didn’t want to get into who is still alive and who isn’t.

      Reply

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