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Thomas Kuchel

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Thomas Kuchel

Thomas Kuchel (1910-1994) was a Republican United States Senator from California.

He was born in Anaheim, California and was educated as a lawyer before entering state government. He served in the California State Assembly from 1936 to 1939, in the California State Senate from 1940 to 1945, and as California State Controller from 1946 to 1953. In 1953 he was appointed to the Senate by governor Earl Warren to fill the vacancy created after Republican Senator Richard M. Nixon was elected Vice President. He served the remainder of Nixon's term and two full subsequent terms ending in 1969. At first, he tried to stay out of the factional infighting within the California Republican party which took place in the 1950s between Vice-President Nixon, California's other US senator William Knowland and governor Goodwin Knight. Kuchel, who was known as a moderate, eventually backed Knowland in his campaign to oust Knight in the Republican primary for governor in 1958. Kuchel broke with Knowland in 1964, however, when Knowland asked him to endorse Barry Goldwater for the Republican nomination for president, and Kuchel instead endorsed Nelson Rockefeller. Knowland's influence in revenge for this may have led to a premature end for Kuchel's political career. He was defeated in a primary in 1968 by conservative Republican Max Rafferty, who went on to lose the general election to Alan Cranston. He returned to practicing law in California until his retirement in 1981.


Preceded by:
Richard M. Nixon
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from California
19531969
Succeeded by:
Alan Cranston

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