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definition - Robert_C._Smith

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Robert C. Smith

For the 19th century British astrologer, see Robert Cross Smith.
Robert C. Smith
United States Senator
from New Hampshire
In office
December 7, 1990 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Gordon J. Humphrey
Succeeded by John E. Sununu
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Hampshire's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1985 – December 7, 1990
Preceded by Norman D'Amours
Succeeded by Bill Zeliff
Vacant until following January
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
In office
October 1999 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by John Chafee
Succeeded by Harry Reid
In office
January 20 – June 6, 2001
Preceded by Harry Reid
Succeeded by Jim Jeffords
Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics
In office
January 7, 1997 – October 1999
Preceded by Mitch McConnell
Succeeded by Pat Roberts
Personal details
Born Robert Clinton Smith
(1941-03-30) March 30, 1941 (age 71)
Trenton, New Jersey
Political party Republican (1985–1999, 2000–Present)
Other political
Independent (politician) (1999)
Spouse(s) Mary Jo Hutchinson
Children Jennifer, Robert, Jason
Alma mater Lafayette College
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1965–1967 (active duty)
1962–1965, 1967–69 (reserve)
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Robert Clinton Smith (born March 30, 1941) is an American politician who has served in both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate. He is a member of the Republican Party.


  Early life

Smith was born in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of Margaret (née Eldridge) and Donald Smith.[1] He obtained a bachelor's degree from Lafayette College in 1965 and served in the United States Navy from 1965 to 1967, including a year of duty in Vietnam. Smith then taught history and English and got into the real estate business.

  Political career

Smith relocated to New Hampshire, and unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982. However, he ran again two years later, and won election, going on to represent New Hampshire's 1st congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1985 to December 1990. He was elected to the Senate in 1990 to succeed the retiring Republican Senator Gordon J. Humphrey. He began to serve in December 1990 because he was appointed to the position early following Humphrey's resignation. The Vietnam War POW/MIA issue, concerning the fate of possible missing or captured Americans in Vietnam, became Smith's major issue in Congress in 1985, partly spurred on by his growing up without knowing how his own father died in World War II. Smith helped create, and served as vice-chairman of, the 1991–1993 Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. Smith was reelected in 1996 and served until 2003. In his 1996 reelection campaign he defeated Democrat Dick Swett with 49% of the vote. Smith had established himself as the most conservative Senator from the Northeast, and Bill Clinton's coattails nearly caused his defeat.

  Smith, second from right, watches as President George W. Bush signs a bill.

In January 1999,at Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro, Smith announced that he was a candidate for the Republican nomination for president (at the time the front-runner was Texas Governor George W. Bush). In July, after failing to gain any ground in the presidential race, Smith announced he was leaving the Republican Party and would seek the nomination of the U.S. Taxpayers Party for president. One month later, Smith swore off the Taxpayers Party and announced as an independent. He withdrew completely from the race in October and endorsed Bush.

In the meantime, Sen. John Chafee (R-R.I.) had died and thus the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works had reopened. Smith recanted his repudiation of the Republican party, claiming it had been "a mistake" and claiming that since he had never officially changed his voting registration that he had never left the party. Smith then was appointed as Chafee's successor to the chairmanship.

In 2000, Smith attempted to assist the Miami-based family of Elián González after Elián was returned to his father's custody by accompanying them to the entrance of Andrews Air Force Base, where Elián was being held; they were turned away.[2]

In 2002, Smith was defeated in the Republican primary by John E. Sununu and moved to Sarasota, Florida, after his defeat to sell real estate.

  After Congress

Smith considered running for the US Senate seat from Florida in 2004 against Mel Martinez, but dropped out after raising little money[3] and receiving less than 1% support in Republican polls. Martinez would go on to win the election.

Less than a month before the November 2004 election, Smith wrote an op-ed for the Concord Monitor in which he denounced the lack of Republican outrage over phone jamming on Election Day 2002, in which Republican operatives had jammed phone banks used by the Democrats to contact Democratic voters and get them to the polls. Smith implied that this action may have made the difference in Shaheen's narrow loss to Sununu.[4]

In December 2007, Smith endorsed Congressman Duncan Hunter of California for the Republican presidential nomination.

In January 2008, Smith began writing editorials on the web page of the Constitution Party (formerly called the U.S. Taxpayers' Party), which fueled speculation that Smith intended to seek the party's presidential nomination. The nomination went to Chuck Baldwin, a Baptist pastor.

In February 2009, with Martinez having announced that he would retire from the Senate in January 2011, Smith was again considering running for the seat,[5][6] though it has also been reported that he is considering a return to New Hampshire to run for the Senate seat there, especially if his old nemesis John E. Sununu (who was defeated for re-election in 2008) seeks the seat.[7] On April 9, 2009, Politico reported that Smith will seek the Republican nomination for Florida's 2010 Senate election.[8] He dropped out of the race in March 2010, after faring poorly in the polls against Governor Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio.[9]


He and his wife Mary Jo have three children.


  External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Norman D'Amours
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Hampshire's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
William Zeliff
United States Senate
Preceded by
Gordon J. Humphrey
United States Senator (Class 2) from New Hampshire
Served alongside: Warren Rudman, Judd Gregg
Succeeded by
John E. Sununu
Political offices
Preceded by
Mitch McConnell
Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee
Succeeded by
Pat Roberts
Preceded by
John Chafee
Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
Succeeded by
Harry Reid
Preceded by
Harry Reid
Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
January 20, 2001 – June 6, 2001
Succeeded by
Jim Jeffords


All translations of Robert_C._Smith

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