|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 7th district
February 22, 1977 – January 3, 1991
|Preceded by||Robert Bergland|
|Succeeded by||Collin Peterson|
|Born||Arlan Ingehart Stangeland
February 8, 1930
Fargo, North Dakota
|Died||July 2, 2013
Lake Lizzie, Minnesota
Arlan Ingehart Stangeland (February 8, 1930 – July 2, 2013) was an American politician from the U.S. state of Minnesota. As a Republican, Stangeland served on the Barnesville, Minnesota school board (1976–1977) and as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives (1966–1975) before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as the representative from Minnesota's 7th congressional district in a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Robert Bergland. Stangeland served in the 95th, 96th, 97th, 98th, 99th, 100th, and 101st congresses, (February 22, 1977 – January 3, 1991). He lost his campaign for reelection in the 1990 House election, due largely to a scandal, and subsequently retired from politics.
He attended grades 1-8 at Oak Mound School near Kragnes, Minnesota and graduated from Moorhead High School in Moorhead, Minnesota in 1948. He then worked as a farmer raising Purebred Shorthorns and a family. He married Virginia Trowbridge Stangeland and went on to having 7 children, 2 girls and 5 boys. Stangeland was a delegate to the Minnesota State Republican conventions from 1964 to 1968.
Stangeland sought election as a Republican to the 95th congress in a special election on February 22, 1977, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Robert Bergland, who left the House to become U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. In the primary on February 8, Stangeland defeated Richard Franson, "a frequent candidate who lived in Minneapolis, far from the district," with 97 percent of the vote.
Stangeland ran against the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party nominee Michael J. Sullivan, a former Walter Mondale aide, in the general election. During the campaign one controversy erupted when Roman Catholic bishop Victor Hermann Balke encouraged voters in the Diocese of Crookston to vote for Sullivan, whom he described as "very pro-church," and against Stangeland, whom he described as having a "very negative" voting record in the state house. Stangeland campaigned "on the theme that the heavily rural northwestern Minnesota needed another farmer, like Mr. Bergland, in Congress" and won the election, receiving 71,251 votes to Sullivan's 43,467. (Stangeland also defeated minor candidates Jim Born of the American Party and independent candidate Jack Bibeau).
Stangeland's victory was a political upset. The New York Times headline the day after the election read "Minnesota victory elates Republicans" and attributed Stangeland's success to "his lifelong residence in the district, his roots as a farmer in a mostly rural area, and his identification as a Lutheran in an area that is predominantly Protestant". and said Sullivan had been "handicapped by his Roman Catholic faith and his reliance on the support of name Democrats rather than grass-roots organizations."
Phone calls controversy
In January 1990 it was reported that Stangeland had made several hundred long-distance phone calls from 1986 to 1987 on his House credit card to and from the residences of a female lobbyist from Virginia. Stangeland admitted that he had made the calls, acknowledged that some of them may have been personal, but denied having a romantic relationship to the woman. His popularity sharply dropped and Stangeland lost the 1990 election to Democrat Collin Peterson.
Stangeland was married with seven children. He was a resident of Barnesville, Minnesota.
Arlan died peacefully at his home on Lake Lizzie in Northwestern Minnesota, outside of Detroit Lakes,on July 2, 2013.
- "Minnesotans voting today on Bergland's House seat." Associated Press: 8 February 1977.
- Naughton, James M. "Minnesota victory elates Republicans." New York Times: 24 February 1977.
- Apple, R.W., Jr. "In Minnesota politics, a test of character." New York Times: 30 October 1990.
- Rasky, Susan F. "The 1990 elections: Four issues and how they played at the polls before uncertain voters." New York Times: 8 November 1990.
- Former Minn. Congressman Arlan Strangeland Dies
- United States Congress. "Arlan Stangeland (id: S000795)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Minnesota Legislators Past and Present
|United States House of Representatives|
|U.S. Representative from Minnesota's 7th congressional district