What of the Mormons (in Congress)?

November 5, 2008 | 34 comments
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The results are in, and the Mormon officials in congress is facing some changes as a result. From what I can tell, the new congress will include either 5 or 6 Mormons in the Senate and 9 in the House of Representatives. [FWIW, outside of the U.S., I only know of 1 LDS Church member currently serving in a national legislature, down from 4 eight years ago.]

The results of the election are as follows:

  • Senate:

    Incumbents:

    • Robert F. Bennett (R-UT) – Remains in office – up for re-election 2010
    • Mike Crapo (R-ID) – Remains in office – up for re-election 2010
    • Orrin Hatch (R-UT) – Remains in office – up for re-election 2012
    • Harry Reid (D-NV) – Remains in office – up for re-election 2010
    • Gordon Smith (R-OR) – Uncertain – slightly ahead but race is too close to call.

    Challengers:

    • Tom Udall (D-NM) – Won Senate Seat – was House member.
    • Mark Udall (D-CO) – Won Senate Seat – was House member. (Born to a Mormon family, Mark Udall doesn’t consider himself Mormon.)

     

  • House of Representatives:

    Incumbents:

    • Rob Bishop (R-UT) – Re-elected.
    • Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) – Newly elected. Defeated Chris Cannon in the Republican primary.
    • John Doolittle (R-CA) – Did not seek re-election due to involvement in the Abramoff scandal.
    • Jeff Flake (R-AZ) – Re-elected.
    • Eni F. H. Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa–non-voting) – results not yet available.
    • Dean Heller (R-NV) – Re-elected.
    • Wally Herger (R-CA) – Re-elected.
    • Jim Matheson (D-UT) – Re-elected.
    • Buck McKeon (R-CA) – Re-elected.
    • Mike Simpson (R-ID) – Re-elected.

    Challengers:

    • Steve Young (D-CA) – Lost to the incumbent.

 

Overall the biggest change was Tom Udall’s successful move from the House to the Senate (and that of Mark, if you want to include him as a Mormon), although if Senator Gordon Smith looses, that too will mark a significant change.

Regardless, there are now fewer Mormons in the U.S. Congress.

FWIW, there are at least two Governors in the U.S. who are Mormon (Nevada, and Utah, whose governor won re-election). Outside of the U.S., the only remaining national politician is Terry Rooney, a member of parliament in the U.K. In past years there have also been LDS politicians on the national level in Canada, Mexico, and Brazil (among countries with a population of more than 1 million).

Note: The information about who is running came from Bob King’s guest posts on BCC.

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34 Responses to What of the Mormons (in Congress)?

  1. Jason on November 5, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    My understanding is that Gov. Gibbons in Nevada does not self-ID as Mormon, similar to Mark Udall. And given the reports and allegations about his indiscretions, I don’t think we’re doing ourselves any favors by claiming him.

  2. Jesse Harris on November 5, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    FYI, Gov. Jim Gibbons of Nevada is reportedly inactive. Given the accusations of sexual assault and the resulting fiscal improprieties with his legal defense fund, I wouldn’t be very eager to count him amongst the saints.

  3. Marc Bohn on November 5, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Unfortunately, Jim Gibbons does indeed identify himself as Mormon.

    Rep. Leonard Boswell from Iowa is RLDS, which is kind of cool.

  4. queuno on November 5, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    If he doesn’t consider himself a Mormon, should we?

  5. Kristine on November 5, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    The terrible (Adam forgot one adjective), horrible, no good, very bad blog had a series of pre-election posts on this topic–see http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2008/10/mormons-in-the-next-congress-part-v/

  6. Kent Larsen on November 5, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Kristine, I noted as much in the note at the bottom of the post.

    I must admit, I’m not quite sure why BCC is “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” (although I like the allusion to Alexander, one of my favorite children’s books. With Adam’s one-issue abortion posts yesterday, I have the feeling he had one of the days that Alexander had.

    But, more on topic, Bob King does seem to be the expert on the subject, as the author of the major article on LDS politicians, which is mentioned in the BCC series.

    My own contribution is just verifying who won and who did not — as well as the International angle, which King doesn’t get into.

    It is unfortunate that we have seen a decline on the International level. Anyone know why we are loosing LDS politicians around the world just when they were starting to be successful?

  7. Kent Larsen on November 5, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Queuno (4):

    Because the Church includes those who don’t consider themselves LDS any longer all the time. The Church includes everyone baptized whos name hasn’t been removed.

    Unfortunately, we often have to guess about this.

    Its a difficult question in some ways, best solved, I think, as I have — indicate when there is a question about their affiliation.

  8. Kent G. Budge on November 5, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Although Tom Udall may identify himself as Mormon, my acquaintances in Santa Fe tell me he is not active.

  9. Marc Bohn on November 5, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    News flash people, see comment 3… Jim Gibbons IDENTIFIES HIMSELF AS MORMON.

  10. Kristine on November 5, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Ah, Kent–sorry; I missed the small print. Bob is going to do a follow-up at BCC in the next few days.

  11. Alison Moore Smith on November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    I can’t wait to vote against Hatch. I campaigned for him when I was in college. Now I think he’s got a bit of dementia. (No, I’m not being snide. I really do. OK, maybe I am being snide. But I really do.)

    I was thrilled to help get Chaffetz in and Cannon out. I’ve been part of the ABC (anyone but Cannon) coalition for years.

  12. spencer on November 5, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    I’ve been following the Gordon Smith Race in Oregon here.

    He’s ahead right now, but it looks like Multnomah County is going heavily for the Dem, and they are barely half way done counting.

  13. Marc Bohn on November 5, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Yup… it’s not looking too pretty.

  14. Todd Wood on November 5, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    And to think that I voted for two on the list.

    Cheers.

  15. John Taber on November 5, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    One more challenger for the House: Mark Parks ran for Delaware’s sole House seat as a Libertarian and came in distant third with less than 1% of the vote.

  16. Kent Larsen on November 5, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Kent G. Budge (8):

    Since when did inactivity keep us from claiming people? No one has problems recognizing Mahonri Young, and he never came to Church. I even have a vague memory of being told that J. Reuben Clark was somewhat inactive at one point, just prior to being called to be a General Authority, if I heard correctly. (I hope someone will correct my rumor on this one, especially if it isn’t based on reality).

  17. Kent Larsen on November 5, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Allison (11): You and I are clearly in different places. I look forward to your comment when I take on the morality of the immigration issue so dear to Utah’s right wing.

    IMO, Utah’s Republicans badly need moderation — much more than they had in Cannon.

  18. Kent Larsen on November 5, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    John (15): Thanks for the info.

    Its often quite difficult to find out this kind of information.

    But I have to say that running as a Libertarian in Deleware doesn’t seem too likely to me.

  19. queuno on November 5, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Kent –

    I see that someone baptized in the Church with a record as LDS. I may not t necessarily consider them Mormon, particularly if they themselves do not self-identify. Similarly, I allow the FLDS to consider themselves Mormons if they choose.

    Here’s how I break it down:

    Mormon = self-identification
    LDS = Formal membership

  20. Mark B. on November 5, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    Merkley has now pulled ahead of Smith in the official count in Oregon, and the Oregonian has projected him as the winner.

    Even though Smith had about a 10,000 vote lead for most of the day, the fact that he was losing by 2-1 in Multnomah County, where half the votes hadn’t been counted yet, and where the numbers, extrapolated, suggested an eventual 100,000 vote plurality for Merkley, made it look grim for Smith.

    I should have thought about Mark Parks in Delaware. His wife grew up here in Brooklyn, and she had “announced” his campaign on her facebook page.

    Cannon had his detractors, and likely well deserved them. But he had his heart in the right place on immigration, and Chaffetz is just one more clone from the Tom Tancredo school of unreconstructed stupidity on immigration policy. When you write your post on the immorality of the anti-immigrant far right, Kent, I’ll run the ammunition hoist, load, aim, play forward observer, whatever. If I were one of the three Nephites I’d strap on a vest packed with C-4 and ball bearings and go out to the enemy camp and pull the firing cord myself.

    Other than that, I don’t really care much about the issue.

  21. Kent Larsen on November 6, 2008 at 7:00 am

    Queuno (19):

    Great. I’m with you. When you are reading my comments above, just substitute “LDS” for any time I’ve mistakenly written “Mormon”!!

    (GRIN)

  22. Kent Larsen on November 6, 2008 at 7:04 am

    Mark B. (20):

    I’m quite certain self-destruction is not necessary on this one. But I do expect to see some fireworks. I hope I’m not overselling my writing abilities.

    And regarding Parks, I meant to say in #18 that I didn’t think he was too likely to be successful as a Libertarian in Delaware (or much of anywhere, for that matter), not that his running wasn’t too likely. Sorry for the misstatement.

  23. don on November 6, 2008 at 9:33 am

    isn’t it a sign of a healthy religious community that we have members — active or inactive — who are serving in public office at the national, state or local level as Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians or whatever? I certainly prefer this state of affairs to any alternative I can think of.

  24. TMD on November 6, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Brian Adam, the Chief Whip for the SNP in the Scottish Parliament (and, since the SNP has a minority Gov’t, the Chief Whip for the Government) is LDS. I recall hearing back in 2000 that he was a bishop.

  25. queuno on November 6, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Kent: Frankly, I’m more interested in the “Mormon” politicians than the LDS ones, if that makes sense.

  26. Kent Larsen on November 6, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Don (23), it is indeed. That is one reason that I’ve been disappointed at the loss of LDS legislators in Canada, Mexico and Brazil.

    TMD (24), you have given me reason for a little hope. I’ll definitely check out Brian Adam. Thanks for the tip.

  27. Kent Larsen on November 6, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Queuno (25):

    Well then, you should be pleased with the list above. It gives all the “Mormon” politicians. It also gives all the LDS politicians.

    If you don’t want the inactives or those that just come from LDS families and aren’t members themselves, you can just ignore those, for they are clearly marked.

  28. Marc Bohn on November 6, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Queuno – Mark Udall is the only one that fits that bill.

  29. Raymond Takashi Swenson on November 7, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    While we were watching the election returns, and saw McCain conceding to Obama, my wife remarked that it is now possible for a black person to be elected president, but there is still too much prejudice for a Mormon to be elected. No one in the professional media business could get away with a column saying all blacks are unfit to be president. But many professionals said that Mormons are per se unfit for that office.

    I wonder if any of the Mormons elected in the list above bothered to make the observation that being Mormon should not be a disqualifier for a presidential candidate. Or did they not want to identify themselves too strongly with the target of such prejudice?

    As for inactive Mormons being elected–democratic Governor Cal Rampton was well known in political circles for indulging in alcohol. He was still re-elected twice by Utahns.

  30. Marc Bohn on November 8, 2008 at 1:50 am

    I think all of them probably did at some point Raymond. For instance, in December 2007, at the height of the attention on Romney’s faith, Harry Reid said: “I would hope that his running for president would be determined on his politics and not his religion.”

  31. Kent Larsen on November 8, 2008 at 10:45 am

    To be honest, I think you are more likely to see the International politicians failing to make such a statement — but mainly because these issue aren’t as much in the forefront of politics elsewhere.

    It would be interesting to see how the LDS politicians overseas have responded to these kinds of issues in any case.

  32. Bob Hamon on November 17, 2008 at 3:05 am

    New Zealand had an election last weekend and Rahui Katene was elected as the Maori Party Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tonga. This is the electorate is the largest in the country.

    Rahui is an active member of the Church.

  33. Kent Larsen on November 17, 2008 at 7:58 am

    Bob (32):

    THANK YOU!!!

    I love getting this kind of information!

  34. Left Field on November 17, 2008 at 8:20 am

    “As for inactive Mormons being elected–democratic Governor Cal Rampton was well known in political circles for indulging in alcohol. He was still re-elected twice by Utahns”

    …and once soundly defeating a former general authority running on the GOP ticket.