|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 5th district
January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1977
|Preceded by||Earle Cabell|
|Succeeded by||Jim Mattox|
March 15, 1942 |
Little Rock, Arkansas
|Spouse(s)||Susan Seligman Fuller|
|Alma mater||Baylor University
Southern Methodist University
Alan Watson Steelman (born March 15, 1942) is a Dallas businessman who was a Republican congressman from Texas between 1973 and 1977; at the time of his election, he was the youngest sitting member of Congress. He gave up his Fifth Congressional District seat to challenge Democratic incumbent Lloyd M. Bentsen, Jr., in the 1976 U.S. Senate general election.
Steelman was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. He attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, on a baseball scholarship. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1964 and was president of his class. He received an MLA degree in 1971 from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Congressional races, 1972 and 1974
In 1972, Steelman was a visiting fellow at the John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. From 1969 to 1972, he was a member of President Richard M. Nixon's Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise, when he was elected to Congress. Steelman unseated incumbent Democratic Congressman Earle Cabell, a former mayor of Dallas who had served since 1965, when he unseated in November 1964 the Republican incumbent Bruce Alger. Steelman polled 74,932 votes (55.7 percent) to Cabell's 59,601 (44.3 percent).
In 1974, a heavily Democratic year both in Texas and nationally, Steelman barely survived the challenge of Mike McCool. In a low-turnout election, Steelman polled 28,446 (52.1 percent) to McCool's 26,190 (47.9 percent).
Challenging Lloyd M. Bentsen, 1976
Steelman did not seek a third term in the U.S. House in 1976 but instead opposed the reelection of Senator Lloyd Bentsen. Senate returns gave Bentsen 2,199,956 (56.8 percent) to Steelman's 1,631,370 (42.2 percent). Bentsen not only defeated the 34-year-old Steelman by a comfortable margin, but he helped to bring Democratic presidential nominee Jimmy Carter to victory in Texas. Carter became thus far the last Democrat to win the electoral votes of Texas, which prior to the 1970s was one of the most loyal of Democratic states. Steelman's U.S. House seat also reverted to the Democrats in 1976, with the winner being future Texas Attorney General James Albon "Jim" Mattox, who defeated the Republican Nancy Judy.
Steelman's leadership credentials
Time magazine listed Steelman among its "200 Emerging Young National Leaders" in 1974, in a special edition devoted to leadership in America. The defunct Dallas Times Herald, in endorsing his re-election bid that year called him one of "the best ever sent to Congress for Texas." Texas Monthly magazine named him one of the top five most effective member's of the then 26-person Texas congressional delegation during only his second term. New Times, a Washington-based national magazine, named him one of the "Ten Best Congressmen" of the 435-member body in 1973.
Steelman never again sought office after the loss to Bentsen. He resides in Dallas and is Vice Chairman of Alexander Proudfoot, a listed company on the London Stock Exchange. He is married to Susan Seligman Fuller Steelman and is the father of five children and the stepfather of two. He is an avid golfer and reads history and biography.
- Alan Steelman at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Official Website
- Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections, House and Senate
|United States House of Representatives|
Earle Cabell (D)
|United States Representative for the 5th Congressional District of Texas
Alan Watson Steelman (R)
James Albon "Jim" Mattox (D)