Thursday, January 16, 2014

East San Francisco Bay Area Members of Congress: 1865 to 2014: George Miller is Just Third to Retire Normally in 150 Years

Thirty-five individuals (thirty-three men and two women) have represented the East San Francisco Bay Area (Alameda and Contra Costa counties) in the U.S. House of Representatives since California’s first single-member districts were created in 1864.  (This does not include the two congressmen who represented California at-large from 1883 to 1885.  California gained two seats in 1882 as a result of the post-1880 census re-apportionment but the Legislature postponed re-districting until the 1884 congressional elections.)

The East Bay today has six U.S. representatives: George Miller, Barbara Lee, Eric Swalwell, Jerry McNerney, Mike Honda and Mike Thompson.

Here is how the 29 other U.S. representatives left their East Bay districts:

  • Defeated in primary or general elections: 14 (Higby, Page, Hilborn, English, MacLafferty, Eltse, Carter, Condon, Allen, Cohelan, George P. Miller, Baker, Pombo, Stark)
  • Died in office: 3 (Elston, Curry Sr., Baldwin)
  • Resigned mid-term: 4 (McKenna, Metcalf, Dellums, Tauscher)
  • Re-districting caused loss of all East Bay territory: 3 (Curry Jr., Edwards, Garamendi)
  • Ran for another office at end of term: 3 (Sargent, Knowland, Waldie)
  • Retired at end of term: 2 (Budd, Tolan)
Retirements are very rare.  Just two East Bay representatives in the past 150 years have retired from the House at the ends of their terms and not sought another political office immediately thereafter: James Budd in 1884 and John Tolan in 1946.  George Miller III will become the third in 2014.

There have been just sixteen open House seats in the East Bay since 1864, created by:

  • Four new congressional seats (1912, 1932, 1952, 1992)
  • Four mid-term resignations (McKenna, Metcalf, Dellums, Tauscher)
  • Three deaths (Elston, Curry Sr., Baldwin)
  • Three runs for higher office at the ends of term (Sargent, Knowland, Waldie)
  • Two retirements (Budd, Tolan)
George Miller III’s retirement in 2014 will create the 17th open congressional seat in the East Bay in the past 150 years. On average, an open East Bay congressional seat is a once-in-a-decade phenomenon.

A "George Miller" has represented the East Bay in Congress for 68 of the past 70 years.  Rep. George P. Miller (D-Alameda), no relation to George Miller III, served from 1945 until after Pete Stark defeated him in the 1972 Democratic primary.  That Rep. Miller was chairman of the House Science & Astronautics committee for most of the 1960s and therefore oversaw NASA's Apollo/lunar landing program.  The only time since World War II that there was not a "Rep. George Miller" from the East Bay was 1973-75.

Several East Bay members of Congress have attained higher political offices.  Rep. James Budd, a Stockton lawyer, was elected to the California governorship in 1894, a decade after he retired from his single term in Congress.  A close friend of suffragist Susan B. Anthony, Rep. Aaron Sargent ascended to the U.S. Senate in 1872, where he introduced the first constitutional amendment (unsuccessful) granting women the franchise. 

Rep. Joseph McKenna resigned in 1892 to serve as U.S. Ninth Circuit Court judge. He subsequently became U.S. attorney general (1897) and Associate Justice of the United States (1898 to 1925).  Rep. Victor Metcalf resigned from Congress mid-term to become President Theodore Roosevelt’s Secretary of Commerce and Labor (1904-06) and Secretary of the Navy (1906-08).

Two East Bay representatives did not run for re-election because they sought other higher offices.  In 1914, Rep. Joseph Knowland (father of future U.S. Sen. William Knowland) ran unsuccessfully in California’s first direct U.S. Senate election.  In 1974, Rep. Jerome Waldie ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for Governor of California (he lost to Jerry Brown – Waldie’s bid is perhaps most famous for his walk across a portion of the state, memorialized in Mary Ellen Leary's book Phantom Politics).

James Budd of Stockton, elected in 1882, was the first Democrat to represent an East Bay district.  [John Glascock (D-Oakland) also was elected in 1882, but he was elected at-large by all voters of California.]  The first third-party member, Progressive John Elston, was elected in 1914.  The first African American, Ronald V. Dellums of Berkeley, was elected in 1970.  Ellen O. Tauscher of Tassajara Valley became the region’s first congresswoman in 1997.

The following are the 35 occupants of the East Bay’s nine seats in the U.S. House of Representatives over the past 150 years:

Seat A: Created in 1864 as one of California’s original three congressional districts.  2nd District from 1865 to 1885 (central Sierra Nevada to East Bay).  3rd District from 1885 to 1913.  6th District from 1933 to 1953.  8th District from 1953 to 1975 (southern Alameda County plus eastern Oakland).  9th District from 1975 to 1993 (San Leandro to Livermore Valley).  13th District from 1993 to 2003 (I-880 corridor from San Leandro to Milpitas).  15th District from 2013 to 2023 (most of southern Alameda County, all of eastern Alameda, San Ramon).  [15 occupants]

1865-69            William Higby (R-Calaveras County)(defeated for re-nomination)
1869-73            Aaron A. Sargent (R-Nevada City) (elected to U.S. Senate)
1873-83            Horace Page (R-Placerville) (defeated by Budd in genl. election after re-districting)
1883-85            James Budd (D-Stockton) [retired – did not seek re-election; later elected governor (1895-99)]
1885-3/92         Joseph McKenna (R-Suisun City) (resigned to serve as U.S. 9th Circuit judge)
12/92-4/94        Samuel Hilborn (R-Oakland) (unseated by House; Warren English declared winner)
4/94-95            Warren B. English (D-Oakland) (defeated in general election)
1895-99            Samuel Hilborn (R-Oakland) (defeated for re-nomination)
1899-7/04          Victor Metcalf (R-Oakland) (resigned to serve as Secretary of Commerce & Labor)
12/04-15            Joseph Knowland (R-Alameda) (unsuccessfully ran for Senate)
1915-12/1921     John A. Elston (Progressive/R-Berkeley) (died in office)
11/1922-1925     James H. MacLafferty (R-Oakland) (defeated in primary)
1925-45            Albert Carter (R-Oakland) (defeated in general election)
1945-73            George P. Miller (D-Alameda) (defeated in primary)
1973-2013         Fortney “Pete” Stark (D-Danville/Oakland/Hayward/Fremont)(defeated Nov. ‘12)
2013-present       Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin)

[Seat A is now a southern & eastern Alameda County district plus San Ramon in Contra Costa County.  It is entirely within the East Bay.]

Seat B: Created in 1912.  California’s 3rd District from 1913 to 1933 (Based in Central Valley but included Contra Costa County).  As of 1933, no longer an East Bay district.  [2 occupants]

1913-10/30       Charles F. Curry (R-Sacramento) (died)
1931-33            Charles F. Curry Jr. (R-Sacramento) (defeated; district lost East Bay territory)
[Seat B lost its East Bay territory in 1932 and evolved into Sacramento/Central Valley district].

Seat C: Created in 1932: California’s 7th District from 1933 to 1975; 8th District from 1975 to 1993; 9th District from 1993 to 2003. 13th District from 2013 to 2023. [6 occupants]

1933-35            Ralph Eltse (R-Berkeley) (defeated in general election)
1935-47            John H. Tolan (D-Oakland) (did not seek re-election; retired in Jan. 1947)
1947-59            John J. Allen (R-Oakland) (defeated in general election)
1959-71            Jeffery Cohelan (D-Berkeley) (defeated in primary)
1971-2/1998      Ronald Dellums (D-Berkeley/Oakland) (resigned mid-term)
4/1998-present   Barbara Lee (D-Oakland)
[Centered on Oakland and Berkeley (covering all of northern Alameda County from Albany to San Leandro), Seat C remains in the East Bay in the 2010s.]

Seat D: Created in 1952.  California’s 6th District from 1953 to 1963 (all of Contra Costa and Solano counties).  14th District from 1963 to 1975.  7th District from 1975 to 2003.  11th District from 2013 to 2023. [4 occupants]

1953-55            Robert L. Condon (D-Walnut Creek) (defeated in general election)
1955-3/66         John F. Baldwin, Jr. (R-Martinez) (died in office)
6/66-75            Jerome Waldie (D-Antioch) (ran for governor)
1975-present     George Miller III (D-Martinez) (not seeking re-election; retiring in January 2015)
[Seat remains in East Bay in 2010s, entirely within Contra Costa County.  It includes most of central Contra Costa County plus Pittsburg and western Antioch plus Richmond/El Cerrito/San Pablo/Pinole]

Seat E: Created in 1962.  Primarily based in Santa Clara County.  Included portion of Alameda County from 1963 to 1993.  9th District from 1963 to 1975.  10th District from 1975 to 1993.  District lost its East Bay territory in 1992. [1 occupant]

1963-93            Don Edwards (D-San Jose) (retired in Jan. 1995, but after district left East Bay)
[Seat E lost its East Bay territory in 1992.  Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) now occupies it.]

Seat F: Created in 1992.  California’s 10th District from 1993 to 2003 (central and eastern Contra Costa County; eastern Alameda County plus Castro Valley).  District lost its East Bay territory in 2012 [3 occupants]

1993-97            William P. Baker (R-Danville) (defeated in general election)
1997-2009         Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Tassajara Valley/Alamo) (resigned mid-term)
2009-13            John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove)  (district no longer in East Bay)
[Seat F lost its East Bay territory in 2012.]

Seat G:   San Joaquin County-centered district.   Added East Bay territory in 2002. 11th District from 2003 to 2013 (Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, most of Brentwood, most of San Joaquin County, Morgan Hill). 9th District [most of San Joaquin County plus much of eastern Contra Costa County (eastern Antioch, Oakley, Brentwood, Discovery Bay)] [2 occupants]
2003-2007              Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) (defeated in 2006 general election)
2007-present            Gerald "Jerry" McNerney (D-Pleasanton/Stockton)

Seat H:  North Bay-centered district.  Added East Bay territory in 2012. 5th District from 2013 to 2023. [1 occupant]
2013-present            Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena)

[Seat H historically has been a North Bay district.  In 2012, a portion of Contra Costa County was added to the district, including most of Martinez, Crockett, Hercules.  Outside of the East Bay, district includes Vallejo and Benicia in Solano County, all of Napa County, part of Lake County and the Santa Rosa/Rohnert Park/Cotati area of Sonoma County.]

Seat I: Silicon Valley district.  Added East Bay territory in 2012.  17th District from 2013 to 2023. [1 occupant]
2013-present             Michael Honda (D-San Jose)

[Seat I historically has been a Santa Clara County district.  Southern Fremont was added in 2012.]

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