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Walter S. Baring Jr.
Member of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 1957 – January 3, 1973
Preceded by Clarence Clifton Young
Succeeded by David Towell
Member of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 1949 – January 3, 1953
Preceded by Charles H. Russell
Succeeded by Clarence Clifton Young
Member of the Nevada State Assembly

In office
1936
Personal details
Born (1911-09-09)September 9, 1911
Goldfield, Nevada
Died July 13, 1975(1975-07-13) (aged 63)
Los Angeles, California
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) A. Geraldine (Buchanan) Baring
Children Walter S. Baring III, William R. Baring, John B. Baring, Thomas J. Baring
Profession Teacher

Walter Stephan Baring Jr. (September 9, 1911 – July 13, 1975) was a United States Representative from Nevada.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Baring was born in Goldfield, Nevada to Emily L. and Walter Baring Sr., his paternal grandparents were born in Germany and his maternal grandfather was from Bohemia.[1] His father served on the Esmeralda County Commission for a while, until he moved the family to Reno. His father then managed a furniture store. Baring graduated from the University of Nevada in 1934 with two bachelor's degrees. After graduating, he worked as a collector for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Naval Service[edit | edit source]

Baring served as a Member of the Nevada Assembly in 1936. He was subsequently reelected, but resigned in 1943 so that he could serve in the United States Navy during World War II. After the war, he was elected to the Reno City Council.

During the Presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, Baring strongly criticized the President's court-packing plan for the United States Supreme Court.

Nevada Representative[edit | edit source]

Baring was first elected to Nevada's sole seat in the House of Representatives in 1948, unseating first-term Republican incumbent Charles H. Russell by 761 votes. He was reelected in 1950, but in 1952, he was unexpectedly defeated by Republican Cliff Young, who won that election by 771 votes. Baring ran against Young again in 1954, but Young again managed a narrow victory. In 1956, Young ran for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Alan Bible, who narrowly defeated him in the general election. That year, Baring ran for Congress again, defeating Las Vegas City Attorney Howard W. Cannon in the Democratic primary before winning the general. Baring was reelected in a landslide in 1958, while Cannon was elected to the U.S. Senate.

During his first two terms in Congress, Baring compiled a liberal voting record. After his return, however, he veered considerably to the right, billing himself as a "Jeffersonian States' Rights Democrat."[2] He usually voted with the conservative Southern wing of his party [1]. He was critical of John F. Kennedy[3] and voted against most of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs.[4] This angered many in his own party, and Baring often claimed, "No one likes Walter Baring but the voters."[5] He was known to equate liberalism with socialism and Communism, and opposed foreign aid of any sort. During the 1960s, Baring faced more strenuous opposition in the Democratic primaries than in the general elections, owing to his ability to attract large numbers of registered Republicans, especially in the northwest of the state.[3] In these contests, Baring was able to run up enough of a margin in the "Cow Counties" (the more rural parts of Nevada) to overcome large deficits in Clark and Washoe counties (home to Las Vegas and Reno, respectively).

Segregation activist[edit | edit source]

Baring was an open and unashamed segregationist. He contended that the Civil Rights Movement was influenced by Communists.[6] He was nearly defeated for renomination in 1964 after leading the opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[2] However, he circulated a picture of his main primary opponent standing with a prominent black doctor—implying that anyone who associated with blacks was not fit for office. This allowed him to run up enough of a margin in the "Cow Counties" to eke out a 1,100-vote victory. In 1968, he praised the American Independent Party nominee for President, Alabama Governor George C. Wallace,[2] and didn't endorse his own party's nominee, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey.

In 1972, Baring was narrowly defeated in the Democratic primary by a considerably more liberal Democrat, Las Vegas attorney and future Congressman James Bilbray. By this time Clark and Washoe counties were well into a period of explosive growth that continues today, and Bilbray's margin in those counties was too much for Baring to overcome. Claiming that Bilbray had smeared him, Baring endorsed the Republican nominee, David Towell, helping him win the general election in an upset.

Last years[edit | edit source]

After leaving Congress, Baring remained interested in politics, even flirting with a run for governor in 1974. However, a bout of emphysema and heart strain ended that prospect. He died of heart and lung failure in 1975 at the age of 63.[7]

Education[edit | edit source]

  • High school teacher's certificate
  • University of Nevada at Reno, B.A. and B.S., 1934
  • Reno High School, 1929

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "United States Census, 1930". https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XKJP-L1H. Retrieved March 7, 2018. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Evans, K.J.; 'Walter Baring'; Las Vegas Review Journal, February 7, 1999
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jaffe, Irwin A. and Pearl, Stanley A.; 'The 1962 Election in Nevada'; The Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 16, No. 2, A Symposium: The 1962 Elections in the West (June 1963), pp. 443-447
  4. Elliott, Gary; Senator Alan Bible and the Politics of the New West, p. 117 ISBN 0874172403
  5. Paher, Stanley W.; Nevada Towns and Tales: North - Volume 1, p. 25 ISBN 0913814415
  6. Damore, David F. and Gill, Rebecca D.; 'Swing State Politics in the Silver State', p. 217. In Schultz, David; Hecht, Stacey Hunter and Beachler Donald W. (editors); Presidential Swing States: Why Only Ten Matter ISBN 0739195255
  7. Infoplease; Walter Stephan Baring, Jr.

External links[edit | edit source]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles H. Russell
United States House of Representatives, Nevada At-Large
1949–1953
Succeeded by
Clarence Clifton Young
Preceded by
Clarence Clifton Young
United States House of Representatives, Nevada At-Large
1957–1973
Succeeded by
David Towell

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