John V. Tunney
|John Varick Tunney|
|United States Senator
January 2, 1971 – January 1, 1977
|Preceded by||George Murphy|
|Succeeded by||S. I. Hayakawa|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 38th district
January 3, 1965 – January 2, 1971
|Preceded by||Patrick M. Martin|
|Succeeded by||Victor Veysey|
June 26, 1934 |
New York City, New York
|Spouse(s)||Mieke Sprengers (divorced)|
|Children||Three sons: Edward, Mark, and ?|
|Alma mater||Yale University
Hague Academy of International Law
University of Virginia
|Service/branch||United States Air Force|
|Unit||Judge Advocate General's Corps|
Tunney graduated from Yale University, where he was a member of St. Anthony Hall, in 1956. He attended the Hague Academy of International Law in the Netherlands and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1959, where he was a roommate of future Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy, who remained a close friend. Tunney was admitted to the Virginia and New York bars in 1959 and practiced law in New York City.
Tunney joined the United States Air Force as a judge advocate and served until he was discharged as a captain in April 1963. He taught business law at the University of California, Riverside in 1961 and 1962. In 1963 he was admitted to practice law in California. He was a special adviser to the President's Committee on Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Crime from 1963 until 1968.
In 1964, Tunney was elected as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives from California's 38th congressional district (Riverside and Imperial counties). He served from January 3, 1965 until his resignation on January 2, 1971 when became a senator.
United States Senator 
In 1970, in one of the most bitter primary campaigns in California history, Tunney defeated fellow Congressman George Brown, Jr., who represented a congressional district that bordered Tunney's district in the Riverside - San Bernardino area of California. One of the key issues was the military draft. While Brown and Tunney both questioned the continuing and expanding U.S. involvement in Vietnam, Brown opposed continuing the military draft while Tunney favored it. This conflict allowed incumbent Republican George Murphy to gain a lead in the early polls. However, Murphy was in his late 60s and his speaking voice was reduced to a gravelly whisper from throat cancer while Tunney was youthful and energetic, blatantly comparing himself with Robert F. Kennedy, largely through haircut and poses, on the campaign trail. California's growing population was becoming more aware, and Murphy's staunch support for the Vietnam War also hurt his support. As the general election approached, Tunney overtook Murphy in the polls. Ultimately, Californians split their ticket in the 1970 mid-term election, narrowly re-electing Republican governor Ronald Reagan and decisively electing Democrat Tunney to the Senate.
Tunney was elected in 1970 to the U.S. Senate for a six-year term. He was renominated in 1976 despite a high-profile challenge from his left in the form of Tom Hayden. That fall, Tunney was defeated for re-election in by Republican S. I. "Sam" Hayakawa, the President of San Francisco State University, who had never held elected office. Hayakawa ran as an outsider, and highlighted Tunney's numerous travels, missed Senate votes, and poor Senate attendance record during the campaign. Still, Tunney led in the polls right up to election night, despite a steadily shrinking lead as the campaign wore on. Despite Democrat Jimmy Carter's victory in the Presidential election, Tunney lost to Hayakawa in a mild upset (it is to be noted that Republican Gerald Ford carried California in the Presidential election). Tunney resigned his Senate seat on January 1, 1977, two days before his term was to officially expire, to allow Hayakawa to have seniority over other incoming Senators.
During his Senate term, Tunney produced a weekly radio report to California, in which he often interviewed other legislators. In 1974, he also authored an anti-trust bill known as the Tunney Act. Tunney would later write a book, The Changing Dream.
Other than appearing at a Los Angeles campaign fund-raiser in 1980 at the Biltmore Hotel for then Massachusetts U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who was running for the Democratic presidential nomination against President Jimmy Carter, after his U.S. Senate defeat in 1976, Tunney played little role in politics, focusing instead on law practice and service on corporate boards. In February 2003, Tunney joined with other former Senators, including George McGovern and Fred Harris, in opposing a war with Iraq.
Tunney's successful Senate race in 1970 is reportedly the inspiration for the 1972 Robert Redford film The Candidate on which the writer Jeremy Larner and director Michael Ritchie based the film. (Projecting Politics: Political Messages in American Films by Terry Christensen and Peter Hass, page 146)
After he left the Senate, Tunney was a news commentator, and a named partner at the Los Angeles law firm then known as Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg & Tunney from 1976 until he left in early 1987 to pursue his personal business activities.
Personal life 
On May 22, 1972, Dutch-born Mieke Tunney, 35, sued for dissolution of her 13-year marriage to California's Democratic Senator John V. Tunney, on the basis of irreconcilable differences. In addition to alimony, child support and half the community property, she requested custody of their three children. Tunney, claiming surprise, hurried back from California to see Mieke in Washington. Washington, equally surprised, prepared to get along without one of its most glamorous couples. They were married on February 5, 1959. On the 23rd of April, 1977, John V. Tunney married Kathinka Osborne, a 1964 member of the Swedish Olympic ski team. 
- Martin Smith, "Difficult days for Manatt & Co.", Modesto Bee, July 16, 1984.
- "People: Los Angeles County", Los Angeles Times, December 23, 1986.
- "Ex-Sen. Tunney to Leave Law Practice", Associated Press in Oxnard Press-Courier, December 23, 1986.
|United States House of Representatives|
Patrick M. Martin
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 38th congressional district
1965 – 1971
Victor V. Veysey
|United States Senate|
|United States Senator (Class 1) from California
1971 – 1977
Served alongside: Alan Cranston
|Party political offices|
|Democratic nominee for Senator from California
|Youngest Member of the United States Senate