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Louis C. Wyman
United States Senator
from New Hampshire

In office
December 31, 1974 – January 3, 1975
Appointed by Meldrim Thomson, Jr.
Preceded by Norris H. Cotton
Succeeded by Norris H. Cotton
Member of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 1967 – December 31, 1974
Preceded by Joseph Oliva Huot
Succeeded by Norman D'Amours

In office
January 3, 1963 – January 3, 1965
Preceded by Charles Earl Merrow
Succeeded by Joseph Oliva Huot
Personal details
Born Louis Crosby Wyman
(1917-03-16)March 16, 1917
Manchester, New Hampshire
Died May 5, 2002(2002-05-05) (aged 85)
West Palm Beach, Florida
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Religion Christianity

Louis Crosby Wyman (March 16, 1917 – May 5, 2002) was an American politician from the Republican Party. He was a U.S. Representative and, for three days, a U.S. Senator from New Hampshire. This was one of the shortest tenures in Senate history.

Early life and career[]

Wyman was born on March 16, 1917 in Manchester, New Hampshire, the son of Alice Sibley (Crosby) and Louis Eliot Wyman.[1] He graduated from the University of New Hampshire at Durham in 1938 and from Harvard University Law School in 1941. He was admitted to the bars of Massachusetts and New Hampshire in 1941, and of Florida in 1957, and commenced the practice of law in Boston, Massachusetts.

During the Second World War, he served in the Alaskan Theater as a lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve from 1942 to 1946. He also served as general counsel to a United States Senate committee in 1946; secretary to Senator Styles Bridges in 1947; counsel to the Joint Congressional Committee on Foreign Economic Cooperation from 1948 to 1949; attorney general of New Hampshire from 1953 to 1961; president of the National Association of Attorneys General in 1957; and as legislative counsel to the Governor of New Hampshire in 1961; member and chairman of several state legal and judicial commissions.

He was elected as a Republican to the U.S. House from New Hampshire's 1st congressional district in 1962. He was swept out in the gigantic Democratic landslide of 1964, but regained his seat in 1966 and was reelected three more times.

Senate election[]

Wyman did not run for reelection to his House seat in 1974, opting instead to run for the Senate seat that was due to come open by 20-year incumbent Norris Cotton's retirement. The initial returns showed him defeating Democratic candidate John A. Durkin by 355 votes on election night.

However, Durkin demanded a recount, which resulted in Durkin winning by ten votes. Governor Meldrim Thomson then certified Durkin as the winner. However, Wyman demanded another recount in which he prevailed by two votes. Cotton resigned on December 31, 1974; Thomson appointed Wyman to the seat for the balance of the term ending January 3, 1975 to give him a leg up in seniority. This appeared to end the dispute, but Durkin appealed to the full Senate, which is the final arbiter of Senate elections per the Constitution.

The Senate Rules Committee, which has jurisdiction over the results of Senate elections, then deadlocked on whether to seat Wyman for the 1975-1981 term pending the resolution of the dispute. On January 14, the Senate returned the matter to the Rules Committee, which returned 35 disputed points to the full Senate based on 3,000 questionable ballots. However, the Senate was unable to break a deadlock on even one of the 35 points.

After seven months of wrangling which included six unsuccessful Democratic attempts to seat Durkin, Wyman, having never been seated, proposed that he and Durkin run again in a special election. Durkin agreed, and the Senate declared the seat officially vacant on August 8, 1975 pending the new election. Thomson appointed Cotton to his old seat in the meantime. The special election was held on September 16, and Durkin won handily, defeating Wyman by nearly 28,000 votes—ending what is still the closest Senate election since the people gained the right to directly elect Senators with the passage of the 17th Amendment in 1913.

Later life[]

Wyman served as an associate justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court from 1978 to 1987. He was a resident of Manchester, N.H. and West Palm Beach, Florida, until his death due to cancer on May 5, 2002.

See also[]

  • Unseated members of the United States Congress


External links[]

  • Louis C. Wyman at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved on 2008-01-25

Party political offices
Preceded by
Norris Cotton
Republican nominee for
U.S. Senator from New Hampshire (Class 3)

1974, 1975
Succeeded by
Warren Rudman
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Chester Earl Merrow
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Hampshire's 1st congressional district

January 3, 1963 – January 3, 1965
Succeeded by
Joseph Oliva Huot
Preceded by
Joseph Oliva Huot
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Hampshire's 1st congressional district

January 3, 1967 – December 31, 1974
Succeeded by
Norman D'Amours
United States Senate
Preceded by
Norris Cotton
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from New Hampshire
December 31, 1974 – January 3, 1975
Served alongside: Thomas J. McIntyre
Succeeded by
Norris Cotton

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