Thomas Kuchel

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Thomas Henry Kuchel

In office
January 2, 1953 – January 3, 1969
Preceded by Richard Nixon
Succeeded by Alan Cranston

Senate Minority Whip
In office
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1969
Preceded by Everett Dirksen
Succeeded by Hugh Scott

California State Controller
In office
February 11, 1946 – January 2, 1953
Governor Earl Warren
Preceded by Harry B. Riley
Succeeded by Robert C. Kirkwood

California State Assemblyman
In office
Preceded by Edward Craig
Succeeded by Sam L. Collins

Born August 15, 1910
Anaheim, Orange County, California
Died November 21, 1994 (aged 84)
Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Betty Mellenthin Kuchel (married 1942–1994, his death)
Children One child
Alma mater University of Southern California (BA and LLB)

Military Service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Unit Navy Reserve
Battles/wars World War II

Thomas Henry Kuchel (pronounced KEY KULL) (August 15, 1910 – November 21, 1994), was an attorney and a Moderate Republican[1] United States Senator from his native California.

Early life, education, and military service

Kuchel was born in Anaheim in Orange County, the home of Disneyland. His father, Henry, was a newspaper editor and the former Letitia Bailey. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Southern California. In 1937, he was elected to the California Assembly, a post he filled for a single term until 1941. He served in World War II in the United States Navy Reserve.

Political career

He was the California state controller from 1946 until he entered the Senate in 1953. He became controller in 1946 under his mentor, liberal Governor Earl Warren, and resigned as controller when Warren appointed him to succeed Richard M. Nixon. Both Warren and Kuchel declined to support Nixon.

U.S. Senate

He succeeded Senator Nixon, who on January 20, 1953, became Vice President of the United States under Dwight Eisenhower. From 1959 to 1969, Kuchel was the Senate Minority Whip in which capacity he was a floor manager of the Civil Rights Act of 1960,[2] the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.[3][4] He also pushed for the ratification of the Twenty-Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which ended poll taxes in federal elections.[5] He worked in 1967 to confirm his fellow liberal, the African-American Thurgood Marshall, a civil rights attorney, to the United States Supreme Court.[6]

Despite mostly being liberal-leaning,[3][4] Kuchel did not join the Moderate Republicans and Democrats who voted to censure Joseph McCarthy,[7] a Wisconsin Republican who investigated and exposed communist infiltration of the United States government.

In the 1964 presidential election, Kuchel supported Nelson Rockefeller during the Republican primaries.[8] Along with fellow Moderate Republican senator Jacob Javits of New York, Kuchel opposed Barry Goldwater while advocating for globalism, smearing conservatives as being "radical".[9] He also attacked the John Birch Society.[4]

Kuchel voted in favor of enacting Medicare.[4] Along with fellow Moderate Republicans Jacob Javits and Clifford Case in 1966, he opposed the school prayer amendment introduced by Everett Dirksen in response to the Supreme Court decision Engel v. Vitale.[10]

While running for reelection, Kuchel did not vote on the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which established open housing.[11] He sought a third full term but lost the Republican primary to the strongly conservative Maxwell Lewis "Max" Rafferty, Jr. (1917–1982),[12] then the California superintendent of public instruction. Rafferty, however, was defeated by the staunchly liberal Democrat Alan Cranston,[13] who like Kuchel was a former state controller.

See also


External links

  • Profile at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress