Crimson in Congress

Mark R. Warner

Harvard Square erupted in historic fashion on November 4 when Senator Barack Obama, J.D. ’91, of Illinois, the first black president of the Harvard Law Review (see "Brevia"), was elected the forty-fourth president of the United States. In January, at least 39 other alumni (defined for this exercise as graduates of or matriculants in a degree program at the University) will be in Washington as members of the 111th Congress.

Democrats remain firmly in control of the Harvard contingent on Capitol Hill. Overall, the Crimson ranks will increase from the group of 35 who sat in the 110th Congress to a contingent of 39. This total includes 36 Democrats (up seven from the tally in the last session), but only three Republicans (down three), including Representative Thomas E. Petri ’62, LL.B. ’65, of Wisconsin, who remains the sole Republican member of the House to have graduated from Harvard. The University’s nine new faces include Senate Democrat Mark R. Warner, J.D. ’80, of Virginia (see “We Need a Win,” September-October 2007, page 78), as well as House Democrats John Adler ’81, J.D. ’84, of New Jersey; Gerry Connolly, M.P.A. ’79, of Virginia; Bill Foster, Ph.D. ’83, of Illinois; John Garamendi, M.B.A. ’70, of California; Alan M. Grayson ’78, M.P.P.-J.D. ’83, G ’87, of Florida; Jim Himes ’88, of Connecticut; Dan Maffei, M.P.P. ’95, of New York; and Walter C. Minnick, M.B.A. ’66, J.D. ’69, of Idaho. (The Democrats’ total will rise by one if Al Franken ’73, of Minnesota, wins his race for the Senate against incumbent Norm Coleman; an automatic recount was incomplete at press time.)

Three of Harvard’s congressional losses came in Senate races that went against Republicans. Elizabeth Dole, M.A. ’60, J.D. ’65, of North Carolina, lost her seat, as did John E. Sununu, M.B.A. ’91, of New Hampshire. (Sununu was defeated by Jeanne Shaheen, whom he beat in 2002; Shaheen, former director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics, served three terms as her state’s first female governor and is its first elected female senator.) And once the final ballots were counted on November 18, Ted Stevens, LL.B. ’50, of Alaska, the longest-serving Republican in the history of the Senate, had lost his seat. (He was convicted on seven felony counts eight days before the election.) Elsewhere, Democrat Thomas H. Allen, J.D. ’74, of Maine, gave up his House seat to run for the Senate, but lost to incumbent Susan Collins; in Louisiana, Democrat William Jefferson, J.D. ’72, who is under federal indictment, was beaten on December 6 in a storm-delayed contest.

The line-up at press time (asterisks mark newcomers):

Senate Republicans: Michael D. Crapo, J.D. ’77 (Id.); David Vitter ’83 (La.).

Senate Democrats: Jeff Bingaman ’65 (N.M.); Russ Feingold, J.D. ’79 (Wisc.); Edward M. Kennedy ’54 (Mass.); Herbert H. Kohl, M.B.A. ’58 (Wisc.); Carl Levin, LL.B. ’59 (Mich.); John F. (Jack) Reed, M.P.P. ’73, J.D. ’82 (R.I.); John D. Rockefeller IV ’58 (W.Va.); Charles E. Schumer ’71, J.D. ’74 (N.Y.); *Mark R. Warner, J.D. ’80 (Va.).

House Republican: Thomas E. Petri ’62, LL.B. ’65 (Wisc.).

House Democrats: *John Adler ’81, J.D. ’84 (N.J.); John Barrow, J.D. ’79 (Ga.); *Gerry Connolly, M.P.A. ’79 (Va.); James H. Cooper, J.D. ’80 (Tenn.); Artur Davis ’90, J.D. ’93 (Ala.); Chet Edwards, M.B.A. ’81 (Tex.); *Bill Foster, Ph.D. ’83 (Ill.); Barney Frank ’61, G ’62-’68, J.D. ’77 (Mass.); *John Garamendi, M.B.A. ’70 (Calif.); *Alan M. Grayson ’78, M.P.P.-J.D. ’83, G ’87 (Fla.); Jane Harman, J.D. ’69 (Calif.); Brian Higgins, M.P.A. ’96 (N.Y.); *Jim Himes ’88 (Conn.); Ron Kind ’85 (Wisc.); James R. Langevin, M.P.A. ’94 (R.I.); Sander M. Levin, LL.B. ’57 (Mich.); Stephen F. Lynch, M.P.A. ’99 (Mass.); *Dan Maffei, M.P.P. ’95 (N.Y.); James D. Matheson ’82 (Utah); *Walter C. Minnick, M.B.A. ’66, J.D. ’69 (Id.); John P. Sarbanes, J.D. ’88 (Md.); Adam B. Schiff, J.D. ’85 (Calif.); Robert C. Scott ’69 (Va.); Joseph A. Sestak Jr., M.P.A. ’80, K ’82, Ph.D. ’84 (Pa.); Bradley J. Sherman, J.D. ’79 (Calif.); Christopher Van Hollen Jr., M.P.P ’85 (Md.); David Wu, M ’81 (Ore.).

Updated November 7, 2012: The original article missed the election of Representative John Garamendi, M.B.A. ’70, Democrat of California. The text and totals above have been corrected to reflect his election.

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