Houston I. Flournoy

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Houston Irving Flournoy (October 7, 1929 – January 7, 2008) was an American politician who served as a California legislator and State Controller. He later became a professor of public administration at the University of Southern California (USC).

Born in New York City, he attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he was active in the Cornell University Glee Club and the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He studied under Clinton Rossiter, a Cornell faculty member who was an authority on The Federalist. After graduating from Cornell in 1950, he served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. In 1956, he earned a Ph.D. in politics at Princeton University. While in New Jersey, he worked in politics as a researcher for the New Jersey Legislature and an aide to Senator H. Alexander Smith.

In 1957, he took a faculty position in the Pomona College Department of Political Science, where he quickly won tenure and remained until 1960. In 1960, he successfully ran for California State Assembly as a Republican Party candidate, and served from 1961 to 1967. In 1966, he was elected California State Controller and served as Controller from 1967 to 1975.

In 1974 he ran for Governor of California. He defeated the more conservative choice, Lieutenant Governor Ed Reinecke, in the GOP primary but then lost a surprisingly close election to Jerry Brown in a heavily Democratic year. Flournoy, who blamed the September 1974 Gerald Ford pardon of Richard Nixon for his loss, never ran for political office again.

In 1976, he was appointed professor at USC in Los Angeles. He taught at the School of Public Administration (now part of the School of Policy, Planning, and Development) until 1993. He also served the USC administration as a governmental affairs advisor until 1999. He has also served on the boards of several corporations. After retirement he resided in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and Bodega Bay, California.

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California Assembly
Preceded by
Ernest R. Geddes
California State Assemblyman, 49th District
1961–1967
Succeeded by
Peter F. Schabarum
Political offices
Preceded by
Alan Cranston
California State Controller
1967–1975
Succeeded by
Kenneth Cory
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ronald Reagan
Republican nominee for Governor of California
1974
Succeeded by
Evelle J. Younger