Michigan Five Fluke Freshmen

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The Michigan Five Fluke Freshmen is the name given to five members (Raymond Clevenger, Billie Farnum, John Mackie, Paul Todd, and Wes Vivian) of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan that were elected in the Democratic landslide of 1964 and subsequently defeated just two years later by a Republican resurgence. All of the five were one-term congressmen. It was the last time that a state would have five freshmen members of Congress defeated for reelection.

1964: LBJ landslide[edit]

Wes Vivian of Ann Arbor
Paul Todd of Kalamazoo
John C. Mackie of Flint
Ray Clevenger of Sault Ste. Marie
Billie Farnum of Drayton Plains

With President Lyndon B. Johnson taking over 67% of the vote in Michigan, the Democrats were able to win five districts and change the delegation from 12 to 7 Republican to 12 to 7 Democratic. The Democratic gains took place in District 2 (based in the Ann Arbor area), District 3 (set around Kalamazoo and Battle Creek), District 7 (Flint and its surrounding region), District 11 (northern lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula), and District 19 (suburban Detroit). Nationally Democrats gained 36 seats from the Republicans in the House.

1964 U.S. House Michigan Congressional District 2 Election.
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Wes Vivian 77,806 50.5
Republican George Meader (Inc) 76,280 49.5
1964 U.S. House Michigan Congressional District 3 Election.
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Paul Todd 85,001 52.7
Republican August Johansen (Inc) 76,350 47.3
1964 U.S. House Michigan Congressional District 7 Election.
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John Mackie 104,115 65.7
Republican Claude Sadler 54,307 34.3
1964 U.S. House Michigan Congressional District 11 Election.
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Raymond Clevenger 86,557 53.3
Republican Victor Knox (Inc) 75,955 46.7
1964 U.S. House Michigan Congressional District 19 Election.
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Billie Farnum 88,441 53.4
Republican Richard Kuhn 77,204 46.6

1966: Republican Resurgence[edit]

The unpopularity of President Johnson's Great Society, rising crime, radical campus protests, and racial riots coupled with the coattail effect of popular Governor George W. Romney at the top of the state ticket all led to a downturn for the Democratic Party. The Republicans succeeded in recapturing the five districts they lost in 1964 and returned the delegation to a 12 to 7 Republican majority. Nationally the Republicans gained 47 seats from the Democrats in the House.

1966 U.S. House Michigan Congressional District 2 Election.
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Marvin Esch 65,205 51
Democratic Wes Vivian (Inc) 62,536 49
1966 U.S. House Michigan Congressional District 3 Election.
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Garry E. Brown 68,912 52.2
Democratic Paul Todd (Inc) 62,984 48.8
1966 U.S. House Michigan Congressional District 7 Election.
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Don Riegle 71,166 54
Democratic John Mackie (Inc) 60,408 46
1966 U.S. House Michigan Congressional District 11 Election.
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Philip Ruppe 70,820 51.8
Democratic Raymond Clevenger (Inc) 65,875 48.2
1966 U.S. House Michigan Congressional District 19 Election.
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jack McDonald 76,884 57
Democratic Billie Farnum (Inc) 57,907 43

References[edit]

  • The Almanac of American Politics 1972