1946 California’s 12th congressional district election
Five-term incumbent Democrat Jerry Voorhis faced Republican challenger Richard Nixon. Nixon was elected with 56% of the vote, starting him on the road that would, almost a quarter century later, lead to the presidency. The 12th stretched from just south of Pasadena to the Orange and San Bernardino county lines.
About 1946 California’s 12th congressional district election in brief
Five-term incumbent Democrat Jerry Voorhis faced Republican challenger Richard Nixon. Nixon was elected with 56% of the vote, starting him on the road that would, almost a quarter century later, lead to the presidency. The 12th stretched from just south of Pasadena to the Orange and San Bernardino county lines, encompassing such small towns as Whittier, Pomona and Covina. The area has since been entirely absorbed into the Los Angeles megalopolis, but at the time it was principally agricultural. The freeway system had barely touched the 12th district; only a small segment of the Pasadena Freeway cut across its northwest corner. In 1932, former congressman and Prohibition Party candidate John Hoeppel was elected to represent the12th district. In 1936, he was convicted for trying to sell a nomination to West Point. In 1940 he faced a little-known military Captain Irwin Minger, and his opponent, former Prohibition Party gubernatorial candidate Robert P. Shuler, was a radio preacher. In 1944, the Republicans were bitterly divided, fearing the choice of a choice and forming the Committee of One Hundred to select a candidate with broad support in the June primary election. As Voor his served his fifth term in the House in 1946, he became what became known as the “Kid Atlas” representative. He was nicknamed by the press for taking the weight of the world on his shoulders, was loyal to the New Deal, and was known as a hard-working representative. In the November general election, the challenger defeated Voor His in the November election. Some historians contend that Nixon received large amounts of funding from wealthy backers determined to defeat VoorHis, while others dismiss such allegations.
The district leaned Republican, the more so after 1941 when the Republican-dominated California State Legislature attempted to gerrymander the district during the decennial redistricting. The revamped 12thDistrict had little industry and almost no union influence, and it was largely rural with few industry and little union influence. In his initial election, Voor’s benefited from the Roosevelt landslide of 1936. Despite the maneuvers of the Republicans in the legislature, V Moorhis was re-elected in 1942, receiving 57% ofthe vote, and won with a similar percentage two years later. In November 1945, the district was gerrymandered to remove strong Democratic precincts in East Los Angeles from the district. The move caused some editorial concern in the district: Alhambra News and the Alameda County Tribune feared the move would be a “embarrassment” to the Republican Party. In June 1946, the party formed what becameknown as the Committees of One hundred and One Hundred and One to selected a candidate to advance the Republican cause in the general election. The Republican candidate was Richard Nixon, who had lived in the area prior to his World War II service. He easily won the Democratic primary and easily won a general election in November 1945. In September and October of 1946, Nixon was able to paint the incumbent as ineffectual and to suggest that he was connected to communist-linked organizations.
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