John Paul Hammerschmidt

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John Paul Hammerschmidt
John Paul Hammerschmidt.JPG
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1993
Preceded by James William Trimble
Succeeded by Tim Hutchinson
Arkansas Republican Party State Chairman
In office
1964–1966
Preceded by William L. Spicer
Succeeded by Odell Pollard
In office
2002–2004
Succeeded by Winthrop Paul Rockefeller
Arkansas Republican National Committeeman
In office
1976–1980
Preceded by Odell Pollard
Succeeded by A. Lynn Lowe
Personal details
Born (1922-05-04) May 4, 1922 (age 91)
Harrison, Boone County, Arkansas, USA
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Virginia Sharp Hammerschmidt
Children John Arthur Hammerschmidt
Alma mater Oklahoma State University
Occupation Lumberman; Entrepreneur

John Paul Hammerschmidt (born May 4, 1922) is an American politician from the state of Arkansas. A Republican, Hammerschmidt served for 13 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from the northwestern Arkansas district before he retired in 1993. In 1974, a nationally Democratic year, he secured his fifth term by defeating the then 28-year-old future President Bill Clinton, the first of two to do so. He was also the first Republican elected to the House of Representatives from Arkansas since Reconstruction.

Early life and business career[edit]

Hammerschmidt was born in Harrison, the seat of Boone County in northwestern Arkansas. He is the son of Junie Mildred (Taylor) and Arthur Paul Hammerschmidt.[1][2] He graduated in 1938 from Harrison High School. He attended The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina from 1938 to 1939 and the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville from 1940 to 1941. He served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. In 1942, Hammerschmidt joined the Third Combat Cargo Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps and served in the China-Burma-India theater until the end of the war in 1945.

Hammerschmidt received the Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak clusters for his service in the war. Out of respect for his fellow service members, as well as his own humble nature with regards to his own service during the war, Hammerschmidt never capitalized on his service record during his following political career[citation needed]. Hammerschmidt returned to the United States and attended Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, from 1945 to 1946, having received a bachelor of science degree. He then entered the lumber industry, founding the Hammerschmidt Lumber Company and becoming its president. Hammerschmidt also was president of the Construction Products Company and the president of the Arkansas Lumber Dealers Association and Southwestern Lumberman's Association.

Political career[edit]

Hammerschmidt was a delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, and 1988. He was twice the state chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas, serving from 1964 to 1966 and again from 2002 to 2004. One of the young persons whom Hammerschmidt placed on his original Congressional staff was Jerry Climer, later the founder of two Washington, D.C., think tanks and the Republican candidate for Arkansas secretary of state in 1972 against the Democrat Kelly Bryant.

In the 1966 election, Hammerschmidt won the Republican nomination for Arkansas's 3rd congressional district, located in the northwestern portion of the state. He defeated incumbent James William Trimble by over 9,000 votes and became the first Republican to represent Arkansas in Congress since Reconstruction. Hammerschmidt was elected twelve more times, having served twenty-six years from January 3, 1967 to January 3, 1993, from the 90th Congress to the 102nd Congress. He became very popular in his district, even though most of its residents had never been represented by a Republican before. The 3rd has always been a rather conservative district; it has only supported a Democrat for president twice since 1952.

His closest campaign was in the 1974 election, when he defeated Bill Clinton (then a University of Arkansas law professor) by only a few thousand votes. Clinton had harshly criticized Hammerschmidt for being one of the few Republicans to stand by Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal. This election was one of only four in which Democrats received more than one-third of the vote against Hammerschmidt (the others being Hardy Croxton in 1968, Donald Poe in 1970, and James McDougal in 1982).[3] In 1978, Hammerschmidt faced weak opposition from the Hot Springs real estate broker William C. Mears and instead had the resources to help the Republican gubernatorial nominee, A. Lynn Lowe, a farmer from Texarkana, win in Boone County. Lowe, who also was the state party chairman, lost, however, to Hammerschmidt's former opponent, Bill Clinton by an approximate margin of 63-37 percent.[4]

Hammerschmidt was a member of the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism (PCAST) which was set up in September 1989 to review and report on aviation security policy in the light of the sabotage of Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21, 1988.

Hammerschmidt had a conservative voting record on foreign policy and social issues, but a slightly more moderate record on economic issues. Hammerschmidt received bachelor of science and master of arts degrees from Canbourne University, which has been described as an "unaccredited online degree mill".[citation needed]

Hammerschmidt was in the Air Force Reserve from 1945 to 1960 and the Army Reserve from 1977 to 1981. He is a Presbyterian and member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Freemasons, Shriners, Elks, Rotary International, and has Alumni status at the Alpha Zeta chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity (University of Arkansas). He served on the Arkansas State University Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2006.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
James William Trimble
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 3rd congressional district

1967–1993
Succeeded by
Tim Hutchinson
Party political offices
Preceded by
William L. Spicer
Arkansas Republican Party State Chairman

John Paul Hammerschmidt
1964–1966

Succeeded by
Odell Pollard
Preceded by
Odell Pollard
Arkansas Republican Party National Committeeman

John Paul Hammerschmidt
1976–1980

Succeeded by
A. Lynn Lowe