Ex-GOP Congressman Who Challenged Nixon Passes Away at 96

(LibertySons.org) – A former congressman who once described himself as a Republican “in the mold of Teddy Roosevelt” has died at the age of 96. California Rep. Pete McCloskey (R-CA) passed away on Wednesday, May 8 at his home.

Pete McCloskey was born Paul Norton McCloskey Jr in Loma Linda, California, in 1927 and played on the South Pasadena High School baseball team, earning himself a spot on the school’s Hall of Fame. He graduated from Stanford Law School, eventually starting an environmental law firm.

He also had a distinguished military career in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. As the leader of a rifle platoon, he was awarded two Purple Hearts for injury in battle, the Silver Star for bravery in combat, and the second highest military honor, the Navy Cross — awarded for extraordinary heroism.

McCloskey first entered politics in 1967 when he defeated Shirley Temple Black (R) and Roy Archibald (D) for a House seat in a special election. He remained a California representative continuously until 1983. In 1972, he challenged incumbent President Richard Nixon in the Republican primary race and lost. He proudly proclaimed he’d finished second even though he only earned one delegate.

Admittedly left-leaning, his love of the environment led to the major legislation known as the Endangered Species Act. This included protections for species and ecosystems facing extinction. Another liberal view that may be surprising, especially for a decorated war hero, was his anti-war position.

McCloskey opposed the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. He voted to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, and he also demanded the impeachment of President Nixon over the Watergate scandal — he ended up resigning instead.

Still involved in the public good after retiring from the political scene, McCloskey helped found the Revolt of the Elders Coalition, which is a group of retired Republican congresspeople who work together to enact change in things like Veterans’ benefits and making it easier to investigate ethics violations in Congress.

McCloskey is survived by his wife, Helen, and four children. Rest in Peace, sir.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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