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In Memoriam: Political Lights We Lost in '06

How to remember 2006? We could start with the incredible upheaval on Capitol Hill. It began with the departure of the most powerful member of the House, Tom DeLay. Corruption charges against other members followed, as did a sordid scandal involving a congressman and under-age congressional page. The end result: Democrats won control of both chambers.

There was more to the year that was, of course. A new Supreme Court justice. The defeat and rebirth of Joe Lieberman. The improbable comeback of Trent Lott, the improbable collapse of George Allen, and the belated departure of Donald Rumsfeld. The sharp-shooting acumen of Vice President Cheney. The flap over the Dubai ports deal. The humiliation of the planet Pluto. And, oh yes, the launching of the NPR political podcast.

It was also a year when many people of the political world, famous and less so, passed on. We lost some true giants in 2006, people who made a difference and who will be missed.

Presented here is a chronological list of those who died last 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.

Charles Porter, 86, a liberal Oregon Democrat who served two terms in the House (1957-60) and made many attempts to regain his seat. He became a forceful opponent of the Vietnam War. (Jan. 1)

David Rosenbaum, 63, a superb political and congressional reporter forThe New York Times who was senselessly murdered on the streets of Washington. D.C. (Jan. 8)

Jack Tanner, 86, a leader in the NAACP and the first black federal judge in the Northwest. Tanner unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for governor of Washington in 1968. (Jan. 10)

Harold Collier, 90, a nine-term (1957-74) Republican member of the House from Illinois who was succeeded by Henry Hyde (R) in 1974. (Jan. 18)

Virginia Smith, 94, who served 16 years in Congress as a Nebraska Republican, from 1975 until her retirement in 1990. (Jan. 23)

Beth Fallon, 64, a former top political reporter and columnist for the New York Daily News and later the New York Post. (Jan. 28)

Coretta Scott King, 78, the widow of slain civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. In her own right, she was a tireless advocate for racial equality. (Jan. 30)

Stew Albert, 66, one of the founders of the anti-Vietnam War Youth International Party -- the Yippies. The group's anti-establishment tactics included nominating a pig ("Pigasus") for president in 1968. (Jan. 30)

Sam Goddard, 86, a longtime leading Democratic figure in Arizona. He was elected governor in 1964, the year favorite son Barry Goldwater (R) ran for president. Goddard lost a bid for re-election two years later to Republican Jack Williams. (Feb. 1)

Al Lewis, 95, best known for playing Grandpa on The Munsters television show. Lewis is remembered here as the Green Party nominee for governor of New York in 1998. He won more than 52,000 votes. (Feb. 3)

Betty Friedan, 85, an early feminist crusader and fighter for women's causes. She was the first president of the National Organization for Women. (Feb. 4)

Reuven Frank, 85. As president of NBC News, Frank pioneered the TV networks' coverage of presidential campaigns. (Feb. 4)

Eli Segal, 63, a longtime Democratic campaign aide who was the chief of staff to Bill Clinton's successful 1992 effort to win the White House. Segal served as the first chief executive of AmericCorps, which offers participants money for college in exchange for community service. (Feb. 20)

William Musto, 88, the charismatic and apparently corrupt former mayor of Union City, N.J. (1962-70, 1974-82). On the day after he was convicted on corruption charges in 1982 and about to go to prison, Musto was nonetheless re-elected as mayor. (Feb. 27)

Harry Browne, 72, the Libertarian Party nominee for president in 1996 and 2000. (March 1)

Robert Dryfoos, 63, a former NYC councilman from Manhattan who played a leading role in the fight to save Radio City Music Hall from demolition. (March 2)

Richard Vander Veen, 83, a Michigan Democrat who won the special 1974 congressional election in a historically Republican district to succeed Gerald Ford -- who had become vice president. Vander Veen's election was another sign that Watergate was going to clobber the GOP in the '74 midterm elections. The first Democrat to win the Grand Rapids-area seat in 64 years, Vander Veen was ousted by Harold Sawyer (R) in 1976; he also sought the Democratic Senate nomination in 1978. (March 3)

Anne Braden, 81, a white civil-rights activist in the 1950s and '60s who, along with her husband, Carl, fought to end discrimination. She later was a founder of the National Rainbow Coalition. (March 6)

John McFall, 88, 11-term Democratic congressman from California (1957-78). McFall served as House majority whip and lost a 1976 bid for majority leader. He was reprimanded by the House for his involvement in the so-called "Koreagate" influence-buying scandal in 1976. Two years later, he lost his seat to Republican Norm Shumway. (March 7)

Dominic Baranello, 83, a former state chair of the New York Democratic Party. (March 9)

Glenn Olds, 85, served as president of Kent State University following the 1970 killings of four students by National Guardsmen. Olds was the Democratic nominee for the Senate in Alaska but lost to incumbent Republican Frank Murkowski in 1986. (March 11)

K. Leroy Irvis, 86, Democrat from Pennsylvania. He was elected speaker of the state House in 1977, becoming the first African-American to accomplish that feat. (March 16)

G. William Miller, 81, served as chairman of the Federal Reserve and as treasury secretary during the Carter administration. (March 17)

J. Glenn Beall Jr., 78, a Maryland Republican elected to the House in 1968. Two years later, President Nixon persuaded Beall to take on Sen. Joseph Tydings (D), who had unseated Beall's father in '64. The younger Beall ousted Tydings but was himself unseated six years later by Democrat Paul Sarbanes. Beall also was the GOP gubernatorial nominee in 1978; he lost to Harry Hughes. (March 24)

Lyn Nofziger, 81, a disheveled but always entertaining longtime adviser to candidate, governor and later President Ronald Reagan. (March 27)

Caspar Weinberger, 88, a former state legislator from California. Weinberger was director of the Office of Management and Budget and later secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (where he got the moniker "Cap the Knife") under President Nixon. He stayed on briefly under President Ford, and returned to the Cabinet as President Reagan's secretary of defense. He was later indicted for his role in the Iran-Contra affair but was pardoned by the first President Bush. (March 28)

George Brown, 79, a Colorado Democrat who in 1974 was elected as the state's lieutenant governor. Because Brown was sworn in one hour before California's Mervyn Dymally, he became the nation's first black lieutenant governor. Brown's career effectively came to an end when he used his power as acting governor to pardon a friend who'd been convicted of murder while Gov. Richard Lamm (D) was out of the state. Lamm dropped Brown from the '78 ticket. (March 31)

Anthony Ameruso, 68. Ameruso was the NYC Transportation Commissioner when the department was engulfed in a bribery and extortion scandal that ended the careers of two Democratic city bosses, including Donald Manes of Queens, who committed suicide. The scandal also was considered a factor in the 1989 primary defeat of Mayor Ed Koch. (April 1)

Lou Carrol, 83, a traveling salesman from Texas who shipped a puppy via train to the daughters of a California Republican senator. One of the daughters, Tricia, named the cocker spaniel "Checkers," and the girls' father, vice presidential nominee Richard Nixon, mentioned the dog in a September 1952 speech that may have cemented his position as Dwight Eisenhower's running mate. (April 3)

J.B. Fuqua, 87, a business tycoon and longtime powerful Georgia Democrat who helped Carl Sanders get elected governor in 1962. Fuqua later chaired the state party. (April 5)

Frank Valeo, 90, a former secretary of the Senate and a defendant in the landmark Buckley v. Valeo Supreme Court campaign-finance case. (April 9)

William Sloane Coffin, 81, a Yale University chaplain who was a leading civil-rights activist and Vietnam War opponent in the 1960s. (April 12)

Dan Schaefer, 70, a Colorado Republican who won a special 1983 House election to fill the seat of Rep.-elect Jack Swigert (R), one of the Apollo 13 astronauts, who died of bone cancer before he could take office. Schaefer served until he retired in 1998. (April 16)

E.A. "Al" Cederberg, 88, a 13-term Republican member of the House from Michigan (1953-78) and close associate of Richard Nixon. Cederberg was unseated in 1978 by Democrat Donald Albosta. (April 17)

Joseph Freitas, 66. As district attorney of San Francisco, Freitas failed to win a murder conviction against Dan White, the city supervisor who killed Mayor George Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978. White was instead convicted of voluntary manslaughter. (April 19)

Edward Davis, 89, the police chief of Los Angeles from 1969 to 1978, when he left to seek the Republican nomination for governor of California. Davis later served in the state Senate and ran for the U.S. Senate in the 1986 GOP primary. (April 22)

Alexander Trowbridge, 76, who served a year as secretary of commerce in President Johnson's Cabinet, from 1967-68. (April 27)

Julia Thorne, 61, the former wife of Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and mother of their two children; she supported her ex-husband's 2004 presidential bid. (April 27)

John Kenneth Galbraith, 97, the liberal economist who wrote about wealth and society. (April 29)

Chris Patterakis, 70, a skilled Air Force fighter pilot during the Vietnam War. He was the Republican nominee for a California congressional seat in 1978 but lost to Tony Coelho. (May 9)

G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery, 85, a leading advocate for veterans during his 30 years (1967-96) as a conservative Democratic member of Congress from Mississippi. (May 12)

Chic Hecht, 77, who upset an ethics-tainted Sen. Howard Cannon (D) in the 1982 Nevada Senate race. Hecht's sole term was filled with many verbal miscues -- such as calling a proposed nuclear-waste repository at Yucca Mountain a "nuclear suppository." After his 1988 defeat by Democrat Richard Bryan, Hecht served as ambassador to the Bahamas. (May 15)

Martin Dardis, 83, a local Dade County investigator who traced the money found on the Watergate burglars in 1972 to the Committee to Re-elect the President -- the beginning of the end for the Nixon presidency. (May 16)

Edward Becker, 73, the former chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit out of Philadelphia, a longtime friend of Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), and -- lest we forget -- a fellow campaign button collector. (May 19)

Lloyd Bentsen, 85. Bentsen is perhaps best remembered for his putdown of Dan Quayle -- "You're no Jack Kennedy" -- while running as the Democratic nominee for vice president in 1988. Bentsen's 22-year career in the Senate began in 1970, with his defeats of incumbent Ralph Yarborough in the Democratic primary and of Republican opponent George H.W. Bush in the general election; it ended in 1993, when President Clinton named him treasury secretary. Bentsen also served in the House; he was elected in 1948 and stayed three terms, during which he proposed dropping an atomic bomb on North Korea. In 1976, he made an ill-fated bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. (May 23)

Robert Giaimo, 86, an 11-term Democratic member of Congress from Connecticut (1959-80) who served as House Budget Committee chair during the Carter years. (May 24)

Elizabeth Connelly, 77, a conservative Democrat who represented Staten Island in the New York state assembly for 27 years, until her retirement in 2000. She was a leader in the fight against drunk driving. (May 25)

Maya Miller, 90, a leader in the women's and environmental movements whose name could be found on President Nixon's "Enemies List." Miller sought the Democratic nomination for the Senate from Nevada in 1974 but lost in the primary to Harry Reid (who went on to lose to Republican Paul Laxalt in November). (May 31)

Eleanor Davies Tydings, 102, daughter of FDR's ambassador to the Soviet Union, wife of a Democratic senator from Maryland, and mother of another Maryland senator. Her father was Joseph Davies, who also helped Woodrow Wilson win the presidency in 1912. Her second husband was Sen. Millard Tydings (1927-50). In 1956, he was seeking to regain his Senate seat and won the Democratic primary. But when he withdrew because of illness, Eleanor Tydings sought the nomination to replace him but failed. A son from her first marriage, Joseph Tydings, was elected to one term in the Senate in 1964. (June 6)

William Hundley, 80, a former Justice Department prosecutor. Later, as a private lawyer, Hundley defended former Attorney General John Mitchell during Watergate and Clinton pal Vernon Jordan during Monicagate. (June 11).

Norma Becker, 76, a leading opponent of the Vietnam War and of nuclear weapons. In 1965, she sponsored one of the nation's first antiwar marches, in New York City. (June 17)

Donald Halperin, 60, a Brooklyn Democrat who served 23 years in the state Senate, until Gov. Mario Cuomo appointed him Housing Commissioner in 1993. (June 26)

Pierre Rinfret, 82, an economist who became the 1990 GOP nominee against New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) after his name was plucked out of a local Republican's phone book. Rinfret lost in a landslide. (June 29)

Frank Zeidler, 93, a former mayor of Milwaukee (1948-60) who was the last Socialist to head up a major U.S. city; he was the Socialist Party's presidential nominee in 1976. (July 7)

Kathy Augustine, 50, a Republican whose tenure as Nevada state controller ended in 2004, when she was impeached and convicted of using government resources to campaign for office. Augustine was running for state treasurer when she died under suspicious circumstances. (July 8)

Winthrop Rockefeller, 57, the Republican lieutenant governor of Arkansas. His illness forced him out of the 2006 gubernatorial election a year early, ending hopes of following in the footsteps of his late father. (July 16)

Robert Mardian, 82, the lawyer for Richard Nixon's Committee to Re-elect the President in 1972. Mardian's conviction on conspiracy charges in the Watergate scandal was later overturned. (July 17)

Thomas Manton, 73. Manton served seven terms as a Democratic member of Congress from New York (1985-98), but his real power was as chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party, a position he assumed in 1986, following the resignation of scandal-tarred Donald Manes. Manton sought the Dem nomination for the House several times. He lost in 1972 to James Delaney. In '78, when Delaney retired, Manton lost to Geraldine Ferraro. When Ferraro was tapped for VP in 1984, Manton won the seat. (July 22)

James West, 55, a conservative Republican and former state Senate majority leader. West's tenure as mayor of Spokane, Wash., ended last year, after he was caught in an Internet gay-sex scandal and was recalled from office. (July 22)

Jerris Leonard, 75, an assistant attorney general for civil rights during the Nixon administration. Leonard was the Republican nominee for the Senate from Wisconsin in 1968; he lost to incumbent Democrat Gaylord Nelson. (July 27)

James Olin, 86, a Virginia Democrat who served in Congress for 10 years (1983-92). (July 29)

David Levy, 79, a leader of the "reform" wing of New York's Democratic Party who challenged the longtime Dem Bronx boss, Rep. Charles Buckley, in the 1962 primary. (Aug. 2)

James F.X. O'Rourke, 89, a former mayor of Yonkers who helped run Ronald Reagan's New York campaign in 1980. (Aug. 4)

Dorothy Healey, 91, a former leader in the American Communist Party. (Aug. 6)

Milton Jaques, 79, a former reporter and Hill aide. Jacques' role on the Congressional Youth Leadership Council set up seminars in Washington for high-school students from around the country with lawmakers and journalists. (Aug. 9)

Joel Harnett, 80, a civic watchdog who finished last in the seven-way Democratic primary for mayor of New York in 1977. (Aug. 11)

Victoria Gray Adams, 79, a civil-rights leader from Mississippi who fought for voting rights for blacks. In 1964, she took on segregationist Sen. John Stennis (D) in a quixotic primary challenge. (Aug. 12)

Joseph Carlino, 89, a Republican speaker of the New York Assembly from 1959 until his defeat in the LBJ landslide year of 1964. (Aug. 13)

James Clark, 87, a Maryland Democrat who served as president of the state Senate from 1979 to 1982. (Aug. 18)

William Quinn, 87, a Republican who in 1959 became the first governor of the state of Hawaii. In 1962, Quinn lost his re-election bid to the Democrat he had beaten in '59, John Burns. (Aug. 28)

Guy Gabaldon, 80, who as a young Marine private persuaded more than a thousand Japanese soldiers to surrender during the battle for Saipan in World War II. Gabaldon unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination for a House seat from California's 19th District in 1964. (Aug. 31)

Bob O'Connor, 61, a Democrat who was diagnosed with brain cancer just seven months after becoming mayor of Pittsburgh in January. (Sept. 1)

Warren Mitofsky, 71, former director of surveys at CBS News. Mitofsky set the standard for the TV networks' use of election-day exit polls. (Sept. 1)

Nellie Connally, 87, widow of former Texas Gov. John Connally. She was the last surviving occupant of the limousine that carried President John F. Kennedy on that fateful day in November 1963. (Sept. 1)

Bob Mathias, 75, a two-time Olympic decathlon gold medal winner who served four terms in Congress as a California Republican (1967-74). He was ousted by John Krebs (D) in the Watergate midterm election of 1974. (Sept. 2)

Thomas Judge, 71, a two-term Montana governor. His bid for a third term ended in 1980, when he lost the Democratic primary to his lieutenant governor, Ted Schwinden. Judge’s attempt at a gubernatorial comeback ended in defeat in the 1988 general election. (Sept. 8)

Clair Burgener, 84, a five-term Republican member of Congress from the San Diego area. Burgener’s brief appearance on the national stage came during his last campaign, in 1980, when his Democratic opponent was Tom Metzger, a Ku Klux Klan leader. Burgener won easily, and later served as California GOP state chair. (Sept. 9)

Ted Risenhoover, 71, whose two terms as a member of the House from Oklahoma ended in a 1978 Democratic primary contest to Mike Synar. (Sept. 10)

Ann Richards, 73. As the keynote speaker at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, she famously mocked Vice President George H.W. Bush, then the Republican nominee for president. But as governor of Texas, Richards underestimated

and lost to Bush's son in a 1994 bid for re-election. (Sept. 13)

Edward King, 81, a conservative Massachusetts Democrat who defeated Gov. Michael Dukakis in the 1978 primary. King’s one term in office ended four years later, when Dukakis won the primary rematch. (Sept. 18)

Joel Broyhill, 86, a Republican who was first elected to Congress from Virginia in the Eisenhower landslide of 1952. He served until 1974, when he fell victim to the anti-GOP tide caused by the Watergate scandal and lost to Joe Fisher (D). (Sept. 24)

Concha Ortiz y Pino de Kleven, 96, a former New Mexico Democratic state legislator who became majority whip in 1941 -- the first woman in state government to achieve the post. (Sept. 30)

Helen Chenoweth, 68, a strong GOP conservative from Idaho who defeated Rep. Larry LaRocco (D) in 1994 and retired, as promised, after three terms. (Oct. 2)

R.W. ("Johnny") Apple, 71, the longtime New York Times correspondent whose coverage of politics began with the 1972 presidential campaign. (Oct. 4)

Gerry Studds, 69, the first openly gay member of Congress. His 24 years in office as a Massachusetts Democrat (1973-96) are best remembered for his censure by the House in 1983 for having an affair with an under-age congressional page. Neither the House action nor his sexuality affected his standing among voters. (Oct. 14)

Carl Vergari, 84, a legendary district attorney for New York’s Westchester County (1968-94). Vergari was the unsuccessful GOP nominee for Congress in 1972 against Rep. Ogden Reid, a Republican who had just switched to the Democratic Party. (Oct. 15)

Linda Williams, 57, an African-American political scientist at the University of Maryland who was an expert on race and gender. (Oct. 16)

Pye Chamberlayne, 68, a longtime UPI radio correspondent whose coverage of presidential campaigns began with the 1964 election. (Oct 21)

Ralph Harding, 77, a two-term Democratic member of Congress from Idaho. Harding’s criticism of Ezra Taft Benson, a Mormon elder, for supporting the John Birch Society was considered a major reason for Harding's defeat for re-election in 1964 by Republican George Hansen. Harding was also the Democratic Senate nominee in 1966 against GOP incumbent Len Jordan. Harding sought to regain his House seat in '78. (Oct. 26)

Thomas Jones, 93, a former Democratic New York state assemblyman. As a civil court judge in 1966, Jones famously challenged Sen. Robert Kennedy to address the problems of the black community. (Oct. 27)

Arnie Sachs, 78, a news photographer whose lens caught President Kennedy in the Rose Garden in 1963 shaking hands with a young 16-year-old named Bill Clinton. (Nov. 3)

Helen Dewar, 70, a Washington Post reporter who covered politics and the Senate for a quarter-century. (Nov. 4)

J.T. Rutherford, 85, a four-term Democratic congressman from Texas (1955-62) and close friend of Lyndon Johnson. Rutherford’s failure to report a campaign contribution from the soon-to-be-notorious Billy Sol Estes led to his defeat in 1962; he lost to Republican Ed Foreman. (Nov. 6)

Joseph Ungaro, 76. As managing editor of the Providence Evening Bulletin, Ungaro asked President Nixon the question at a 1973 editors' meeting that elicited the famous "I am not a crook" response. (Nov. 12)

Milton Friedman, 94, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and strong advocate for limited government regulation of the economy. His laissez-faire philosophy played a role in every Republican administration dating back to Richard Nixon. (Nov. 16)

Jeane Kirkpatrick, 80, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Reagan. Kirkpatrick’s strong anti-Communist (and especially anti-Soviet) views made her a leading figure among neo-conservatives, but she didn't become a Republican until after she left the Reagan administration. (Dec. 7)

Tony Smith, 64, the unsuccessful Democratic nominee in Alaska against Sen. Frank Murkowski (R) in 1992 and Rep. Don Young (R) in 1994. (Dec. 8)

Raymond Shafer, 89, a Pennsylvania Republican who defeated Milton Shapp (D) for the governorship in 1966. Shafer was reportedly asked to be Richard Nixon's running mate in 1968, but he rejected the offer. (Dec. 12)

Ellis Rubin, 81, a Miami defense lawyer known for flamboyant tactics. Rubin ran twice for the Senate from Florida, in the 1980 Republican primary and the 1994 Democratic primary. (Dec. 12)

Gus Johnson, 92, a liberal Democrat from northern Virginia. Johnson fought the political organization led by Sen. Harry Byrd (D) and was twice defeated (1962 and '64) by Rep. Joel Broyhill (R). (Dec. 14)

Robert Stafford, 93, a liberal Republican and strong environmentalist from Vermont. Stafford spent 17 years in the Senate (1971-88), after having served as Vermont’s state attorney general (1955-56), lieutenant governor (1957-58), governor (1959-60) and lone congressman (1961-71). He was appointed to the Senate in 1971 following the death of Winston Prouty (R) and was elected three times. (Dec. 23)

Gerald Ford, 93, the nation's 38th president -- and the only one never to have been elected president or vice president. Ford’s pardon of his predecessor, Richard Nixon, for his involvement in the Watergate scandal helped end his own political career in the 1976 election. A Republican member of the House since 1949, Ford was the minority leader when President Nixon tapped him in 1973 to be his vice president, after Spiro Agnew resigned over corruption charges. Ford later became president when Nixon himself resigned, in August 1974. The goodwill that Ford brought to the White House was cut short not long after he pardoned Nixon. Ford fought off former California Gov. Ronald Reagan to win the 1976 presidential nomination, but was narrowly defeated in the general election by another former governor, Georgia Democrat Jimmy Carter. Four years later, when Reagan won the presidential nomination, he tried to work out an arrangement by which Ford would be his running mate -- or "co-president," as some called it. But the negotiations fell through, and Reagan chose George H.W. Bush instead. In November 2006, Ford surpassed Reagan as the longest-living former president. (Dec. 26)

"Political Junkie" returns to its normal format next week.

Got a question? Ask Ken Rudin: politicaljunkie@npr.org

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