James B. Utt
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2013)|
Utt was born in Tustin in Orange County. He attended public schools and Santa Ana Junior College. He worked in citrus processing. He served in the California State Assembly from 1932 to 1936, and he worked as an inheritance tax appraiser in the state controller's office during 1936–1952. In 1946, at the age of 47, Utt graduated from the University of Southern California Law School, was admitted to the bar the next year, and practiced law in Santa Ana.
In 1952, Utt was first elected to the 83rd Congress. He polled 106,972 votes (63%) against the Democrat Lionel Van Deerlin, who drew 62,779 votes (37%). Utt had no serious challengers in what became an increasingly "safe" seat for him. For instance, in the heavily Democratic year of 1958, he polled 152,855 votes (58%) to Democrat T.R. Boyett's 109,794 votes (42%).
In 1962, when Richard M. Nixon lost the governorship to incumbent Democrat Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, Sr., Utt won reelection with 133,737 (68.5%) to Democrat Burton Shamsky's 61,393 (31.5%). In the wake of Barry Goldwater's landslide defeat in 1964, Utt still polled 65 percent in his district. In 1966, when Ronald W. Reagan blocked a third term for "Pat" Brown, Utt received 73.1 percent in his district (his strongest showing ever). In 1968, when Nixon was elected president, Utt drew a similar vote of 72.5%. That turned out to have been his last election, for he died in office before completing the 1969–1971 term.
Utt was an outspoken conservative; one of his unachieved goals was to remove the United States from the United Nations.
In 1963, he claimed that "a large contingent of barefooted Africans" might be training in Georgia as part of a United Nations military exercise to take over the United States. In 1963, he also claimed that black Africans may be training in Cuba to invade the United States.
In 1964, he had been a strong supporter of fellow Republican Barry Goldwater for the presidency. Goldwater had also voted against the 1964 civil rights law on constitutional and libertarian grounds but later repudiated his position.
Utt was succeeded in the 35th Congressional District by fellow conservative Republican John G. Schmitz. Schmitz won the seat for a full term in the 1970 general election, aided in part by the presence of Governor Reagan, who was winning a second term. Schmitz polled 192,765 votes (67 percent) to Democrat Thomas B. Lenhart's 87,019 (30.7 percent). The turnout in the district continued to grow along with the Orange County population. (Schmitz later abandoned the GOP on grounds that the party had grown "too liberal." He was the American Independent Party presidential nominee in 1972 but won no states in his opposition to Richard Nixon's second term.)
- Memorial services held in the House of Representatives and Senate of the United States, together with tributes presented in eulogy of James B. Utt, late a Representative from California. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1970)
- Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections
|United States House of Representatives|
|United States Representative for the 28th Congressional District of California
Alphonzo E. Bell, Jr.
|United States Representative for the 35th Congressional District of California
John G. Schmitz