Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


David Obey's Exit and the Badger State Congressmen Who Left Before Him

Bookmark and Share

Obey served alongside 31 different Wisconsin U.S. Representatives since election in 1969

He entered Congress the youngest member of the U.S. House and he will exit Congress as the longest-serving member of Congress in Wisconsin history.

David Obey, the third longest serving member in the U.S. House, announced on Wednesday that he would not seek a 22nd term serving Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District.

The decision puts yet another Democratic seat in jeopardy and opens up a prestigious chairmanship (the Appropriations Committee) regardless of which party wins control of the U.S. House this November.

Obey first came to D.C. via a special election on April 1, 1969 to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Republican Melvin Laird to become U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Congressman Obey defeated Walter Chilsen by 3.2 points in that race and then successfully defended his 7th CD seat in each of the next 20 elections, by an average margin of victory of 29.5 points.

The closest race Obey ever faced was during the Republican Revolution of 1994, when he beat his GOP contender Scott West by 8.7 points. Obey won subsequent rematches with West by 14.1 points in 1996, and 21.3 points in 1998.

Republicans also failed to field a candidate against Obey in one election cycle (2004).

Through his tenure in the U.S. House through the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s, Obey has served with 31 different members of the Badger State U.S. House delegation, and has seen 24 of these members leave Congress before him:

· Nine Wisconsin U.S. Representatives were defeated at the ballot box during Obey's 21 terms in office: Republican Henry Schadeberg, Republican Alvin O'Konski (by Obey, after redistricting in 1972), Republican Vernon Thomson, Republican Harold Froehlich, Democrat Robert Cornell, Democrat Alvin Baldus, Democrat Robert Kastenmeier, Democrat Peter Barca, and Democrat Jay Johnson.

· Eleven other members of the Wisconsin U.S. House delegation did not seek reelection during this 40+-year span: Republican John Byrnes, Republican Robert Kasten, Democrat Henry Reuss, Democrat Jim Moody, Republican Toby Roth, Republican Steven Gunderson, Republican Scott Klug, Republican Mark Neumann, Democrat Thomas Barrett, Democrat Gerald Kleczka, and Republican Mark Green.

· Two colleagues from the Badger State died in office while serving with Obey: Republican William Steiger (in 1978) and Democrat Clement Zablocki (in 1983).

· One other Wisconsin U.S. Representative departed Congress because he failed to receive his party's nomination: Republican Glenn Davis, in 1974.

· Another Badger State colleague of Obey's resigned mid-term: Democrat Les Aspin to become U.S. Secretary of Defense in 1993.

In total, Obey served with 15 Wisconsin Democratic colleagues and 16 from the Republican Party.

Current U.S. Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (elected in 1978) and Tom Petri (elected in 1979) served with Obey during the longest stretch out of these 31 members from the Wisconsin U.S. House delegation.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Long Legislative Service Not a Prescription for Gubernatorial Electoral Success in Minnesota
Next post: Republicans Outnumber Democrats in Minnesota for First Time Since 2005

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting