Elliott H. Levitas

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Elliott H. Levitas
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1985
Preceded by Benjamin B. Blackburn
Succeeded by Pat Swindall
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born Elliott Harris Levitas
(1930-12-26) December 26, 1930 (age 86)
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Residence Atlanta, Georgia
Alma mater

Henry W. Grady High School
Emory University

Emory University School of Law
Profession Attorney

Elliott Harris Levitas (born December 26, 1930) is a former U.S. Representative from Georgia's 4th congressional district.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Levitas graduated in 1948 from Henry W. Grady High School there. He attended Emory University in Atlanta, where he was a member of the secret honor society D.V.S.

In 1956, he earned a Juris Doctor from the Emory University School of Law. A Rhodes scholar, he received a masters of law degree in 1958 from University of Oxford in England.

He conducted additional study in law at the University of Michigan from 1954 to 1955. He was admitted to the Georgia bar in 1955 and commenced practice in Atlanta. He was in the United States Air Force from 1955 to 1958. Levitas was a delegate to the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, which nominated the Lyndon B. Johnson/Hubert H. Humphrey ticket, the first Democratic slate to lose the electoral votes of Georgia since the Reconstruction era.

Levitas was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1964 and served from 1965 to 1974. In his second term in the state House, he was one of thirty Democrats who voted for the Republican Howard Callaway, rather than the Democratic nominee, Lester Maddox, a segregationist from Atlanta, in the disputed 1966 gubernatorial race. The legislature, however, chose Maddox to resolve the deadlock though Callaway had led the balloting in the general election by some three thousand votes.[2]

Levitas was elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-fourth and to the four succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1985). He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the Ninety-ninth Congress in 1984. He resides in Atlanta.

Levitas represented a district dominated by DeKalb County, northeast of Atlanta. For four terms prior to his election, Benjamin B. Blackburn, a Republican, represented the area, which had a considerable population of suburban voters fleeing Atlanta's school desegregation efforts and the rise of African American political influence. In 1974, liberal whites in the areas around Decatur and Emory University and a few disgruntled Republicans elsewhere turned against Blackburn because of his support of President Richard Nixon in Watergate, thus enabling Levitas to get elected.

Levitas composed a mostly moderate record in the House, carefully balancing liberal and conservative interests. However, redistricting after the 1980 census brought more Republican voters into Levitas's territory. In 1984, he succumbed to Republican Pat Swindall amid Ronald Reagan carrying the district in a landslide. Most of the territory that Levitas previously represented is now solidly Democratic territory, thanks to white flight turning many older DeKalb County suburbs into desirable residences for middle-class African Americans.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stone, Kurt F. "The Jews of Capitol Hill: A Compendium of Jewish Congressional Members, (2011). Pages 294–298. ISBN 9780810857315.
  2. ^ Billy Hathorn, "The Frustration of Opportunity: Georgia Republicans and the Election of 1966", Atlanta History: A Journal of Georgia and the South, XXI (Winter 1987-1988), p. 47

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Benjamin B. Blackburn
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 4th congressional district

January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1985
Succeeded by
Pat Swindall

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.