Former GOP Congressman Who Tried to Unseat Nixon Dies at 96

( – Born in California in 1927, Paul Norton McCloskey Jr. grew up to become a military man, joining the Navy in 1945 and serving as he attended college. Five years later, he graduated from Stanford University and joined the Marines just as the Korean War was starting.

McCloskey became a hero during the war, winning several medals, including the prestigious Navy Cross, two Purple Hearts, and the Silver Star. He was wounded in battle leading a platoon, which caused him to change course and eventually led him to try and unseat former President Richard Nixon. McCloskey died on May 8 at home at the age of 96.

His Political Career

In 1963, the war veteran was invited to the White House for a conference about civil rights. He had earned his law degree 10 years before and was a practicing attorney in general and environmental law. When he heard former President John F. Kennedy speak during that meeting, he said he was inspired to enter politics — so he did.

Four years later, he filled a vacancy in the House of Representatives after a legislator’s death. McCloskey represented California and would be re-elected seven times to the position.

During his tenure in the Lower Chamber, he was the first lawmaker in the House to call for former President Richard Nixon’s impeachment following the Watergate scandal. McCloskey even started a presidential run to try and unseat the incumbent in 1972 before withdrawing his name and exiting the race.

The former representative left politics for a time before returning in 2006 to challenge former Representative Richard Pombo (R-CA) for his seat. McCloskey said it was his last-ditch effort to save the party from what he called “the new brand of Republicanism.” After his loss, he switched his political affiliation and joined the Democratic Party.

McCloskey’s Other Accomplishments

The former politician had a great love for the environment, co-writing the Endangered Species Act, which lives on to this day. The legislation protects wildlife, fish, and plants so various species can thrive on the planet.

McCloskey was also the co-chairman of the first Earth Day in 1970 and received many accolades related to his environmental contributions to the cause. The former rep also wrote several books, including one about politics, and he spent time giving lectures at universities in California.

McCloskey was married and had four children, who went on to give him a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He leaves a legacy of bravery, grit, and straight talk, fighting for his beliefs.

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