An unlikely path from B-movie actor to beloved president.
Briefly a U.S. senator, most remembered for his service to the Kennedys.
A former congressman, senator and Cabinet member whose career ended in disgrace.
The only Republican to ever represent Hawaii in the Senate.
The legendary New York political boss.
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It was an election that didn't produce the drama or the controversy of 2000, but not everyone came away satisfied with the process — or the results. One thing everyone should agree on is that the political world lost some true giants in 2004, people who influenced our lives and who will be missed.
We lost people — such as Archibald Cox, Sam Dash and Fred LaRue — from the Watergate era. We lost former governors, such as the fiery Louie Nunn from Kentucky and Kirk Fordice from Mississippi. The conciliatory John West of South Carolina. Hiram Fong, the only Republican ever elected to the Senate from Hawaii. Carmine De Sapio, who made and broke politicians in New York during his long tenure as head of Tammany Hall, in an era when people still wielded such power. And we lost Ronald Reagan, one of the most revered presidents of the 20th century.
Presented here is a chronological list of those from the political world who died this year. 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.
Tex Lezar, 56, a Justice Department official in the Reagan administration who was the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor of Texas in 1994 against incumbent Democrat Bob Bullock. (Jan. 5)
Thomas Kindness, 74, a six-term Republican member of Congress from Ohio (1975-86) who challenged Sen. John Glenn (D) in 1986. He tried to regain his House seat in 1990 but lost the GOP primary. (Jan. 8)
Perry Duryea, 82, the former speaker of the New York State Assembly who was the Republican nominee for governor in 1978 against incumbent Democrat Hugh Carey. (Jan. 11)
David Henderson, 82, a Democratic congressman from North Carolina (1961-76) who chaired the Post Office and Civil Service Committee. (Jan. 13)
Carlton Sickles, 82, a Maryland Democrat whose four-year tenure in Congress ended in 1966 when he ran and lost in the gubernatorial primary. Earlier, as a state legislator, Sickles championed the D.C. area's transit system and was known as the "father of the Metro." (Jan. 17)
Harry Claiborne, 86, who lost to Nevada Sen. Howard Cannon in the 1964 Democratic primary, but who is best known as a federal judge who was convicted of filing false income tax returns, impeached by the U.S. Senate in 1986, and sent to prison. (Jan. 19)
Lloyd Bucher, 76, whose spy ship the Pueblo was captured by North Korea in 1968, an incident that became an issue in that year's presidential campaign. (Jan. 28)
Louie Nunn, 79, whose election as governor of Kentucky in 1967 made him the last Republican to win the post until Ernie Fletcher won it last year. As governor, Nunn worked to outlaw housing discrimination. He lost a bid for governor in 1963 and again in 1979, and in 1972 was the unsuccessful GOP candidate for the Senate against Dee Huddleston. (Jan. 29)
James Jordan, 73, a Madison Avenue ad executive who worked on President Gerald Ford's 1976 campaign. Jordan was responsible for memorable slogans used on behalf of Schaefer beer ("when you're having more than one"), Tareyton cigarettes ("would rather fight than switch"), and Wisk detergent ("ring around the collar"). (Feb. 4)
Richard Brown, 85, a leading figure in New York's Democratic "reform" movement in the 1950s and '60s who helped topple the Tammany Hall machine in Manhattan led by Carmine De Sapio. (Feb. 13)
Waggoner Carr, 85, the 1966 Democratic nominee for the Senate against Texas incumbent Republican John Tower. A former state attorney general, he also sought the Democratic nomination for governor in the 1968 primary. (Feb. 25)
Mike O'Callaghan, 74, a Korean War hero who served two terms as the Democratic governor of Nevada (1971-78). (March 5)
Robert Orr, 86, a two-term Republican governor of Indiana (1981-88) whose tenure was marked by a sweeping change in the state's educational system. He previously served eight years as lieutenant governor and later was ambassador to Singapore. (March 10)
John West, 81, a Democrat whose election as governor of South Carolina in 1970 marked the first major step in the state's shift away from segregation. He later served as President Carter's ambassador to Saudi Arabia. (March 21)
Mary Goodhue, 82, a veteran Republican state senator from Westchester County in New York who lost her seat in the 1992 GOP primary to a little-known assemblyman and one-time protégé by the name of George Pataki. (March 24)
Paul Theis, 84, a former journalist who worked as a senior speechwriter for President Gerald Ford. (March 24)
J. Edward Roush, 83, an Indiana Democrat whose 16-year tenure in the House (1959-68, 1971-76) ended with his defeat in 1976 to Republican Dan Quayle. (March 26)
Janet Steiger, 64, the head of the Federal Trade Commission under the first President Bush; she was the wife of the late Rep. Bill Steiger (R-Wisc. 1967-78). (April 3)
Alphonzo Bell, 89, an eight-term Republican congressman from California (1961-76) who gave up his seat in 1976 to seek, unsuccessfully, the GOP nomination for the Senate. He also ran for mayor of Los Angeles in 1969, part of a field that was topped by incumbent Sam Yorty. (April 7)
Frank Morrison, 98, a two-term Democratic governor in Nebraska (1961-66) and strong opponent of the Vietnam War who twice lost Senate bids to incumbent Republicans, in 1966 to Carl Curtis and in 1970 to Roman Hruska. (April 19)
Mary McGrory, 85, whose long career at the Washington Star and then the Washington Post, starting with the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954, made her one of the most influential political journalists of all time. (April 20)
William "Pete" Knight, 74, a Republican state senator from California who wrote the legislation banning gay marriage in the state. (May 7)
Jack Eckerd, 91, the multi-millionaire Florida-based drugstore chain owner who three times lost in Republican bids for elective office: in 1970 to incumbent Gov. Claude Kirk in the GOP primary; in 1974 as the Republican nominee for the Senate against Richard Stone (D); and in 1978 as the party nominee for governor against Democrat Bob Graham. (May 19)
David Dellinger, 88, a lifelong pacifist and anti-Vietnam war activist who was one of the Chicago Seven charged with conspiracy and inciting to riot following the 1968 Democratic national convention. (May 25)
Catherine May Bedell, 90, a Republican who in 1958 became the first woman elected to Congress from Washington state, and who after her defeat in 1970 was appointed to positions by presidents Nixon and Reagan. (May 28)
Archibald Cox, 92, the special Watergate prosecutor who was fired in 1973 by the Nixon White House in what was called the "Saturday Night Massacre," a dismissal that was seen as the beginning of the end for Nixon. (May 29)
Sam Dash, 79, the legal counsel for the majority Democrats during the 1973-74 Senate Watergate hearings and who later served, briefly, as Kenneth Starr's ethics adviser during Whitewater. (May 29)
Ronald Reagan, 93, the nation's 40th president (1981-89), a two-term Republican who is credited with the collapse of communism and the victory of free-market economics. A former Hollywood actor, Reagan was elected twice as governor of California (1966 and '70). He was a favorite-son candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 1968, and unsuccessfully challenged President Ford for re-nomination in 1976, before winning the presidency in 1980 over incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter. Four years later, he captured 49 of 50 states in a landslide re-election victory over ex-Vice President Walter Mondale. His tenure in office was marred by huge deficits and the administration's involvement in trading arms for hostages (Iran-Contra). But he remained popular throughout most of his presidency, extremely so among conservatives, who saw him seen as an unflinching optimist who stood up for his principles. Two months into his first term, he was the object of a would-be assassin's bullet. (June 5)
Robert Teeter, 65, a longtime Republican pollster and strategist, who was President George H.W. Bush's campaign chair in 1992. (June 13)
Tony Hope, 63, the son of the late comedian Bob Hope, who sought the Republican nomination in California's open 21st CD in 1986 but lost in an upset to Elton Gallegly, who still serves. (June 28)
George Busbee, 76, a Democrat who was the first Georgia governor allowed to serve two consecutive terms (1975-82). (July 16)
Robert Smylie, 89, whose three consecutive terms as governor of Idaho remain a record, but whose bid for a fourth term ended in a Republican primary defeat in 1966, due in part to his support for a sales tax. Smylie also sought a Senate seat in 1972, but finished fourth in the GOP primary won by Jim McClure. (July 17)
Anne Gorsuch Burford, 62, the controversial head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Bush; she resigned under pressure after she refused to hand over documents to Congress relating to toxic waste. (July 18)
Fred LaRue, 75, an architect of Richard Nixon's successful 1968 presidential campaign who later went to prison on obstruction-of-justice charges stemming from the Watergate scandal. (July 24)
Carmine De Sapio, 95, a legendary Democratic kingmaker and the last boss of New York's Tammany Hall, who is credited with the elections of, among others, Averell Harriman as governor and Robert Wagner Jr. as mayor in the 1950s, but who ultimately went to prison on bribery and extortion charges. (July 27)
Lamar Gudger, 85, a two-term Democratic member of the House from North Carolina, who was defeated for re-election in 1980. (Aug. 2)
William Ford, 77, who spent three decades in the House (1965-94) as a Michigan Democrat close to organized labor — he chaired the Education and Labor Committee — and who was instrumental in the passage of the Family Medical Leave Act in 1993. (Aug. 14)
Hiram Fong, 97, the only Republican to serve as U.S. senator from Hawaii, who won three terms before deciding not to run again in 1976. A strong supporter of civil rights as well as the Vietnam War, he was one of Hawaii's first two senators when it became a state in 1959 and the first Asian-American ever elected to the Senate. He was also Hawaii's favorite son candidate for president at the 1964 and 1968 Republican national conventions. (Aug. 18)
E. Brooke Lee Jr., 86, scion of a powerful Maryland political family who nonetheless was the Republican nominee for mayor of Washington, D.C., against incumbent Marion Barry in 1982. (Aug. 20)
Frank Horton, 84, a New York Republican who served 30 years in the House (1963-92), becoming the dean of the state's congressional delegation, representing the Rochester area. (Aug. 30)
Kirk Fordice, 70, whose election in 1991 — ousting Democratic incumbent Ray Mabus — made him the first Republican governor of Mississippi since Reconstruction. (Sept. 7)
Brock Adams, 77, whose long political career — he came to the House in the Lyndon Johnson landslide of 1964, left to become President Carter's Secretary of Transportation in 1977, and defeated Sen. Slade Gorton (R) in 1986 — ended amid allegations by eight women of sexual misconduct, including the daughter of a family friend. He did not seek a second term in 1992. (Sept. 10)
James David Barber, 74, a Duke University political science professor and presidential expert. (Sept. 12)
Edward McAteer, 78, a major figure in the Christian conservative movement and founder of the Religious Roundtable. He ran as an independent in the 1984 Tennessee Senate race won by Albert Gore Jr. (Oct. 6)
Pierre Salinger, 79, the press secretary to both President John Kennedy and his successor, Lyndon Johnson; he resigned in March 1964 to seek the Democratic nomination for an open Senate seat in California. He won the primary, defeating Alan Cranston. But when retiring incumbent Clair Engle died, Gov. Pat Brown appointed Salinger to fill the seat. In the November general election, he was defeated in an upset by Republican George Murphy, the former song and dance man. He worked on the presidential campaigns of Robert Kennedy in 1968 and George McGovern in '72. He later was a European correspondent for ABC News. (Oct. 16)
Edwin Hall, 95, a Republican member of the House from upstate New York who served from 1939 until he was defeated for re-nomination in the 1952 GOP primary, when he was placed in the same district as that of Rep. W. Sterling Cole. (Oct. 18)
Vaughn Meader, 68, a satirist whose 1962 album, The First Family, spoofing the Kennedys, made him famous, but whose career came to a screeching end following the shots in Dallas in November 1963. (Oct. 29)
Thomas Foglietta, 75, whose long career in Philadelphia politics started in the Republican Party — he was elected to the city council in 1955 and was the GOP nominee for mayor 20 years later against incumbent Democrat Frank Rizzo. After his election to Congress in 1980 as an independent, he switched to the Democratic Party and served until President Clinton named him ambassador to Italy. (Nov. 13)
Elmer Andersen, 95, a Republican who was elected governor of Minnesota in 1960 and defeated for re-election two years later by Democrat Karl Rolvaag by 91 votes — the closest gubernatorial election in Minnesota history. (Nov. 15)
John Burns, 83, the former Democratic state chair of New York who helped ease Robert Kennedy into the New York political scene when he ran for the Senate in 1964. He was also his party's nominee for lieutenant governor in 1962, and worked on the presidential campaigns of RFK in 1968 and NYC Mayor John Lindsay in 1972. (Nov. 16)
Reed Irvine, 82, the founder of Accuracy in Media, a conservative watchdog group that sought to expose what he saw as liberal control of the media. (Nov. 16)
Joseph Canzeri, 74, a political advance man who worked for Republicans such as Nelson Rockefeller and Ronald Reagan, and briefly for Ross Perot in 1992. (Nov. 19)
Billy James Hargis, 79, an evangelist and key leader in the anti-communist movement in the 1950s and '60s; he founded the Christian Crusade out of Tulsa, Okla. (Nov. 27)
Matthew Troy, 75, the longtime member of the New York City Council and Democratic boss of Queens County, whose political career ended following his 1976 conviction and imprisonment on tax evasion charges. (Dec. 3)
Tom Reddin, 88, the former chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, who later ran for mayor of L.A. in 1973 but finished with just 13 percent of the vote. (Dec. 4)
Pauline Gore, 92, whose late husband Albert served more than three decades in Congress, and whose son, Albert Jr., was elected congressman, senator, vice president, and — almost — president. (Dec. 15)
"Political Junkie" returns next month, taking your questions about campaign history, trivia and lore. Happy holidays to all! — Ken Rudin