Frank Mascara

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Frank Mascara
Frank Mascara.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 20th district
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Austin Murphy
Succeeded by District Abolished
Personal details
Born (1930-01-19)January 19, 1930
Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania
Died July 10, 2011(2011-07-10) (aged 81)
Monongahela, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Signature
Mascara's district from 1995 to 2003

Frank Robert Mascara (January 19, 1930 – July 10, 2011)[1] was a Democratic politician from Pennsylvania who served four terms in the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He was the uncle of St. Lucie County, Florida Sheriff Ken Mascara.

Early life, education, and early political career[edit]

Mascara briefly served in the United States Army after World War II and was an accountant before entering politics. He obtained a B.A. from California University of Pennsylvania in 1972.

Mascara next served as an elected official in Washington County, near Pittsburgh, for nearly 20 years. He was elected county controller in 1973 and as County Commissioner in 1979. He served on the Washington County Commission for 15 years, many of them as chairman.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

Before 2000 Census

In 1992, Mascara launched a primary challenge to U.S. Congressman Austin Murphy, a 16-year incumbent, in the 20th Congressional District, which comprised most of the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh. He lost the race by 3,000 votes. When Murphy retired two years later, Mascara handily won the Democratic primary to replace him. Although the 20th was considered the most Democratic district in Pennsylvania outside the districts based in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Mascara earned a narrow victory in the general election against Republican businessman Mike McCormick. Mascara faced the same opponent — and another narrow win — in 1996. However, the district reverted to form afterwards, and Mascara was reelected with little trouble in 1998 and 2000.

After 2000 Census

The Republican-controlled state legislature significantly altered Mascara's district.[2] The district was renumbered as the 18th District, and was considerably more affluent than its predecessor. It was also somewhat friendlier to Republicans, even though there were still 70,000 more registered Democrats in the district than Republicans. A large portion of the area Mascara had represented for the past eight years was shifted to the neighboring Johnstown-based 12th District, represented by 28-year incumbent Democrat John Murtha. The newly drawn district was widely criticized, since portions of several neighborhoods were split between two districts. In some cases, one side of the street was in the 18th while the other was in the 12th; in others, one side of the street was in the 18th while the other was in the Pittsburgh-based 14th. In one of the more extreme examples, most of Mascara's hometown, Charleroi—including most of his neighborhood—was drawn into the 12th. However, a long tendril extending from his house to Allegheny County remained in the 18th. Mascara opted to run against Murtha in the 12th's Democratic primary, since the redrawn 12th contained more of Mascara's old territory than Murtha's. After a bruising primary filled with negative campaigning by both candidates, Murtha won by a wider than expected margin. The 18th was taken over by Republican State Senator Tim Murphy.

Tenure[edit]

In Congress, Mascara was a moderate Democrat who opposed abortion and gun control, but whose voting record was otherwise consistent with the Democratic line. He was regarded as a political powerbroker among Democrats with a record of scoring federal money for local projects.

In both Washington and his home district, Mascara projected a blue-collar, working class image. He liked to say frequently, "I don't go to the nightclubs and big restaurants. ... I don't drink. I don't gamble. I don't whore around."

Death[edit]

Mascara died of lung cancer on July 10, 2011 at Mon Valley Hospital in Monongahela, PA.[1]

Electoral history[edit]

Pennsylvania's 20th congressional district: Results 1992–2000[3]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
1994 Frank Mascara 95,251 53% Mike McCormick 84,156 47% *
1996 Frank Mascara 113,394 54% Mike McCormick 97,004 46% *
1998 Frank Mascara 97,885 100% (no candidate) *
2000 Frank Mascara 145,131 64% Ronald J. Davis 80,312 36%
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1994, write-ins received 12 votes. In 1996, write-ins received 4 votes. In 1998, write-ins received 190 votes.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Shapiro, T. Rees (July 11, 2011). "Frank Mascara, four-term congressman, dies". Washington Post. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ Thomas Lloyd Brunell (2008). Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America. Psychology Press. p. 69. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Austin Murphy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 20th congressional district

1995–2003
Succeeded by
District Abolished1
Notes and references
1. Tim Murphy was elected to the 18th district seat, which takes-in much of the same areas as the old 20th district.