John Culver

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John Culver
John Culver.jpg
United States Senator
from Iowa
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1981
Preceded by Harold E. Hughes
Succeeded by Chuck Grassley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1975
Preceded by James E. Bromwell
Succeeded by Michael T. Blouin
Personal details
Born John Chester Culver
(1932-08-08) August 8, 1932 (age 84)
Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Children Chet Culver
Alma mater Harvard University
Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Profession Lawyer
Military service
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1955–1958

John Chester Culver (born August 8, 1932) is an American politician of the Democratic Party who represented Iowa in both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

Early life and education[edit]

Culver was born in Rochester, Minnesota, the son of Mary C. (Miller) and William C. Culver. He moved with his family to Cedar Rapids, Iowa as a child.

Culver is a graduate of both Harvard University and Harvard Law School. As an undergraduate, Culver played fullback on the Harvard football team with the future Senator Edward Kennedy. He served as a captain in the United States Marine Corps from 1955 to 1958 as well. Culver was inducted into the Harvard Football Hall of Fame in 1978. Culver was the Lionel de Jersey Harvard Scholar at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, for a year following his tenure at Harvard College.


Culver began practicing law in Cedar Rapids in 1963, but soon entered politics. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Iowa as a Democrat in 1964. He served in the House from 1965 until 1975.

In 1974, Culver was elected to the U.S. Senate, winning the seat left open by the retirement of Harold E. Hughes with 50.02% of the vote. Culver served one term in the Senate, from 1975 until 1981. Culver was defeated in a bid for reelection by Republican Chuck Grassley in 1980. Culver took 45.5% of the vote to Grassley's 53.5%.

In 2000, Culver co-authored American Dreamer, the first comprehensive biography of Henry A. Wallace.

Culver recently retired from the firm of Arent Fox in Washington, D.C., where he established the government affairs practice.[1] He lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his wife, Mary Jane Checchi and his son, John Vincent Culver.

Culver was a featured speaker at the August 28, 2009 memorial service for Senator Edward M. Kennedy, speaking as his Harvard classmate and teammate, his colleague for a time in the Senate, and his longtime friend.[2]

Until January 31, 2011, Culver was the interim director of the Institute of Politics (IOP) at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University,[3] being replaced on that date by former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, with Culver remaining on the board of advisers as director emeritus.

Personal life[edit]

Culver's eldest son, Chet, is a former Governor of Iowa. His term began on January 12, 2007 after being elected on November 7, 2006 and ended January 14, 2011 after losing his re-election bid on November 2, 2010.


External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
James E. Bromwell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 2nd congressional district

1965 – 1975
Succeeded by
Michael T. Blouin
United States Senate
Preceded by
Harold E. Hughes
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Iowa
1975 – 1981
Served alongside: Richard C. Clark, Roger W. Jepsen
Succeeded by
Charles Grassley