|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 5th district
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2005
|Preceded by||Tom Foley|
|Succeeded by||Cathy McMorris Rodgers|
October 7, 1944 |
|Spouse(s)||Mary Beth Socha|
George R. Nethercutt Jr. (born October 7, 1944) is an American politician, author, consultant, columnist and commentator. Nethercutt is the founder and chairman of The George Nethercutt Foundation. He was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2005, representing Washington's 5th congressional district.
Born in Spokane, Washington, and a graduate of North Central High School, Nethercutt earned a B.A. in English from Washington State University in 1967 and a law degree from Gonzaga University in 1971. He worked as a clerk for Alaskan federal Judge Raymond Plummer. Nethercutt then served as staff counsel and later chief of staff to Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) from 1972 to 1977 before returning to private practice in Washington State.
Nethercutt was first elected to Congress in 1994 in a dramatic election in which he unseated the Speaker of the House, Tom Foley. It was the first time he'd run for office. The seat had been turning more conservative since the early 1980s, but Foley had held on mainly by running up his totals in Democratic-leaning Spokane. In the 1994 election, however, Nethercutt ran up his totals in the more rural areas of the district while holding Foley to a margin of only 9,000 votes in Spokane and 3,000 in Spokane County, which allowed him to prevail by 4,000 votes. This marked the first time a sitting Speaker of the House was unseated since 1862, and was part of a massive national Republican landslide that saw the GOP take control of the House for the first time in 40 years. In Congress, he sat on the House Appropriations Committee and the House Science Committee. Like most Republicans elected in the 1994 wave, he had a strongly conservative voting record.
Nethercutt's campaign against Foley, a 30-year incumbent, included significant attention to Foley's opposition to term limits. In 1992, Washington state voters had approved a ballot measure limiting the terms of Washington officials, including federal officials such as U.S. Representatives. Foley brought suit contesting the constitutionality of this limit and won in court. Nethercutt repeatedly cited the caption of Foley's lawsuit – "Foley against the People of the State of Washington." He also promised to serve no more than three terms (six years) in the House.
In the 1996 elections, the Democrats mounted a serious bid to regain the seat, but Nethercutt won by an unexpectedly large 12-point margin even as Bill Clinton narrowly carried the district. He was handily reelected in 1998. In 2000, when his self-imposed three-term limit would have kicked in, Nethercutt changed his mind and announced his intention to run again, infuriating term-limits supporters. Nethercutt was nevertheless re-elected without much difficulty in 2000 and in 2002.
2004 Senate race
Rather than running for a sixth term in the House of Representatives, Nethercutt decided to run for U.S. Senate in 2004, hoping to unseat the incumbent, Senator Patty Murray. Term limits again became an issue in the campaign, as Democrats quickly seized on Nethercutt's broken term-limits pledge.
Nethercutt was also hampered by his lack of name recognition in the more densely populated western part of the state, home to two-thirds of the state's population. Washington has not elected a senator from east of the Cascades since Miles Poindexter in 1916. Other important issues included national security and the war in Iraq. Nethercutt supported the invasion of Iraq, while Murray opposed it.
Nethercutt was a heavy underdog from the start, and his campaign never gained much traction. In November, he lost by 12 points, receiving 43 percent of the vote to Murray's 55 percent.
Nethercutt left the House of Representatives at the end of his term in January 2005, but has said that he probably will not retire from politics completely. In 2005, he and two other political veterans (former Interior Department deputy secretary J. Steven Griles and former White House national energy policy director Andrew Lundquist) joined to form the political lobbying firm of Lundquist, Nethercutt & Griles, LLC. Griles resigned in 2007, after he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in connection with the Abramoff scandal, the top Bush administration official to do so.
Nethercutt now serves as Chairman of Nethercutt Consulting LLC, Of Counsel for Bluewater Strategies in Washington, DC, Of Counsel with Lee & Hayes, an intellectual property law firm in Washington State, and is a member of several corporate boards. He is the author of the book "In Tune with America: Our History in Song," writes a monthly column for The Pacific Northwest Inlander newspaper and records radio commentaries for several radio stations.
George is also a board member on the Dutch board of JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).
The Nethercutt Foundation
Nethercutt has founded The George Nethercutt Foundation in Spokane, Washington. The Foundation is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering civic involvement. The foundation accepts applications from college students who aspire to be Nethercutt Fellows. The Nethercutt Fellowship involves, among other things, a trip to Washington, D.C. where fellows have the opportunity to see the inner-workings of the United States government.
|1994||Thomas S. Foley||106,074||49%||George R. Nethercutt, Jr.||110,057||51%|
|1996||Judy Olson||105,166||44%||George R. Nethercutt, Jr.||131,618||56%|
|1998||Brad Lyons||73,545||38%||George R. Nethercutt, Jr.||110,040||57%||John Beal||American Heritage||9,673||5%|
|2000||Tom Keefe||97,703||39%||George R. Nethercutt, Jr.||144,038||57%||Greg Holmes||Libertarian||9,473||4%|
|2002||Bart Haggin||65,146||32%||George R. Nethercutt, Jr.||126,757||63%||Rob Chase||Libertarian||10,379||5%|
|Year||Democrat||Votes||Pct||Republican||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct|
|2004||Patty Murray||1,549,708||55%||George R. Nethercutt, Jr.||1,204,584||43%||J. Mills||Libertarian||34,055||1%||Mark B. Wilson||Green||30,304||1%|
- Spring 2012 Fellows. Harvard University Institute of Politics. Retrieved September 22, 2015.
- Spokane County WA – Tax Exempt Organizations and Spokane Washington Non Profit Organizations
- "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
- United States Congress. "George Nethercutt (id: N000051)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- George Nethercutt on the Issues
- The Nethercutt Foundation website
- Nethercutt's columns in The Pacific Northwest Inlander
|U.S. House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 5th congressional district
Cathy McMorris Rodgers
|Party political offices|
|Republican nominee for United States Senator from Washington