David Durenberger

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David Durenberger
DaveDurenberger.jpg
United States Senator
from Minnesota
In office
November 8, 1978 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by Muriel Humphrey
Succeeded by Rod Grams
Personal details
Born David Ferdinand Durenberger
(1934-08-19) August 19, 1934 (age 79)
St. Cloud, Minnesota
Political party Independent
(Republican while in office)
Spouse(s) Judy Durenberger, deceased
Susan B. Foote
Alma mater Saint John's University
University of Minnesota Law School
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1956–1963

David Ferdinand Durenberger (born August 19, 1934) is an American politician and a former Republican member of the U.S. Senate from Minnesota.

Early life[edit]

Durenberger was born in St. Cloud, Minnesota. He graduated first from Saint John's University and then from the University of Minnesota Law School, receiving his J.D. in 1959.[1] He served in the United States Army Reserve from 1956 to 1963.

U.S. Senate[edit]

On November 7, 1978, Durenberger was elected in a special election to complete the unexpired term of Senator Hubert Humphrey, whose position had temporarily been filled by Humphrey's wife Muriel. He was reelected in 1982 and again in 1988, serving from November 8, 1978, to January 3, 1995, in the 96th, 97th, 98th, 99th, 100th, 101st, 102nd and 103rd Congresses. He served as the chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence during the 99th Congress. Durenberger was unanimously denounced by the Senate on July 25, 1990, for unethical conduct relating to outside income. He was also disbarred for his actions.

In 1994, Durenberger was also a principal in the withdrawal of the nomination of Admiral Stan Arthur to become Commander, U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM). At the time, Arthur was the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, effectively the Navy's number two officer, and was also the Navy's most senior Naval Aviator on active duty immediately after the 1991 Tailhook Incident. During the Senate confirmation process for Arthur to assume command of USPACOM, Durenberger questioned Arthur's handling of sexual harassment allegations brought by one of the Senator's constituents, a female Navy student helicopter pilot, LTJG Rebecca Hansen, who was attrited from flight training for repeated, documented, poor performance in the flight phase of training. To pressure the Navy for information, Durenberger placed a hold on the nomination of Arthur to command USPACOM. Rather than let the USPACOM post continue to go unfilled during what might have been protracted Senate hearings, Arthur elected to retire from the Navy on February 1, 1995 as a four-star admiral.[2][3]

Post-Senate life[edit]

He did not run for reelection in 1994 and was succeeded by Rod Grams. In 1995 he pleaded guilty to charges of misuse of public funds while in office, and was sentenced to one year of probation.[4]

Durenberger gave an interview in 2005 on the Inside Minnesota Politics Podcast, stating that he is no longer a supporter of the Republican Party but is not a supporter of the Democratic Party either. He said in an interview with Peter Idusogie that Democrats are better equipped to handle health care and that President George W. Bush was wrong about the Iraq War.[5] In 2010, Durenberger endorsed his former chief of staff, Independence Party member Tom Horner, for governor.[6]

Durenberger currently sits on the Advisory Board for the Energy Literacy Advocates.

Personal papers[edit]

A collection of Durenberger's senatorial files documents Durenberger's three terms in the United States Senate, and is strongest in its documentation of the final term (1989–1995). The papers are perhaps most significant for the information they contain about his interest in, and legislative activities regarding, health policy and health care reform issues. [7]

Electoral history[edit]

  • 1978 race for U.S. Senate (special election)
    • David Durenberger (R), 62%
    • Bob Short (DFL), 35%
  • 1982 race for U.S. Senate
    • David Durenberger (R) (inc.), 53%
    • Mark Dayton (DFL), 47%
  • 1988 race for U.S. Senate

References[edit]

External links[edit]

United States Senate
Preceded by
Muriel Humphrey
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Minnesota
1978–1995
Served alongside: Wendell Anderson, Rudy Boschwitz, Paul Wellstone
Succeeded by
Rod Grams
Political offices
Preceded by
Barry Goldwater
Arizona
Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee
1985–1987
Succeeded by
David L. Boren
Oklahoma