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John Paul Hammerschmidt

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Title: John Paul Hammerschmidt  
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Subject: Lynn Lowe, United States House of Representatives elections, 1992, United States House of Representatives elections, 1988, United States House of Representatives elections, 1990, Hammerschmidt
Collection: 1922 Births, 2015 Deaths, American Construction Businesspeople, American Military Personnel of World War II, Arkansas Republican State Chairmen, Arkansas Republicans, Bill Clinton, Living People, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Arkansas, Oklahoma State University Alumni, People from Boone County, Arkansas, People from Harrison, Arkansas, Recipients of the Distinguished Flying Cross (United States), Republican Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, United States Army Air Forces Soldiers
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John Paul Hammerschmidt

John Paul Hammerschmidt
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1993
Preceded by James William Trimble
Succeeded by Tim Hutchinson
Arkansas Republican Party State Chairman
In office
Preceded by William L. Spicer
Succeeded by Odell Pollard
In office
Succeeded by Winthrop Paul Rockefeller
Arkansas Republican National Committeeman
In office
Preceded by Odell Pollard
Succeeded by A. Lynn Lowe
Personal details
Born (1922-05-04)May 4, 1922
Harrison, Boone County
Arkansas, USA
Died April 1, 2015(2015-04-01) (aged 92)
Springdale, Arkansas, United States
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Virginia Sharp Hammerschmidt
Children John Arthur Hammerschmidt
Alma mater Oklahoma State University
Occupation Lumberman; Entrepreneur
Military service
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Army Air Corps
United States Air Force Reserve
District of Columbia Army Reserves
Years of service 1942-1945 (Army Air Corps)
1945-1960 (Reserves)
1977-1981 (Army Reserves)
Battles/wars World War II (South-East Asian theatre)
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross with three Oak leaf clusters

John Paul Hammerschmidt (May 4, 1922 – April 1, 2015) was an American politician from the state of Arkansas. A Republican, Hammerschmidt served for 13 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from the Northwestern Arkansas district before he retired in 1993.

In 1974, a nationally Democratic year, he secured his fifth term by defeating the then 28-year-old future President Bill Clinton. He was also the first Republican elected to the House of Representatives from Arkansas since Reconstruction.


  • Early life and business career 1
  • Political career 2
  • Legacy 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life and business career

Hammerschmidt was born in Harrison, the seat of Boone County in northwestern Arkansas. He is the son of Junie Mildred (Taylor) and Arthur Paul Hammerschmidt.[1][2] Both sets of grandparents migrated to Boone County in the early years of the twentieth century and were of German descent.[3] He graduated in 1938 from Harrison High School.[4]

He attended The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina from 1938 to 1939[5] and the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville from 1940 to 1941.[4]

Hammerschmidt served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. In 1942, he joined the 3rd Combat Cargo Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps and served in the China-Burma-India theater until the end of the war in 1945. Hammerschmidt received the Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters for his service in the war.[4] Out of respect for his fellow service members, as well as his own humble nature with regards to his own service during the war, Hammerschmidt never capitalized on his service record during his following political career.

Hammerschmidt returned to the United States and attended Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, from 1945 to 1946, having received a bachelor of science degree.[4] He then entered the lumber industry, founding the Hammerschmidt Lumber Company and becoming its president. Hammerschmidt also was president of the Construction Products Company and the president of the Arkansas Lumber Dealers Association and Southwestern Lumberman's Association.[4]

Hammerschmidt continued his military service in the United States Air Force Reserves from 1945 to 1960, and later in the District of Columbia Army Reserves from 1977 to 1981.[6]

Political career

Hammerschmidt was a delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, and 1988. He was twice the state chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas, serving from 1964 to 1966 and again from 2002 to 2004. His successor as chairman in 1966, Odell Pollard of Searcy in White County, died three weeks before the passing of Hammerschmidt himself.[7]

One of the first young people whom Hammerschmidt placed on his original Congressional staff was Jerry Climer, later the founder of two Washington, D.C., think tanks and the Republican candidate for Arkansas secretary of state in 1972 against the Democrat Kelly Bryant.

In the 1966 election, Hammerschmidt won the Republican nomination for Arkansas's 3rd congressional district, located in the northwestern portion of the state. He defeated incumbent James William Trimble by over 9,000 votes and became the first Republican to represent Arkansas in Congress since Reconstruction. Hammerschmidt was elected twelve more times, having served twenty-six years from January 3, 1967 to January 3, 1993, from the 90th Congress to the 102nd Congress. He became very popular in his district, even though most of its residents had never been represented by a Republican before. The 3rd has always been a rather conservative district; it has only supported a Democrat for president twice since 1952.

Hammerschmidt in 2007

His closest campaign was in the 1974 election, when he defeated Bill Clinton (then a University of Arkansas law professor) by only a few thousand votes. Clinton had harshly criticized Hammerschmidt for being one of the few Republicans to stand by Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal. This election was one of only four in which Democrats received more than one-third of the vote against Hammerschmidt (the others being Hardy Croxton in 1968, Donald Poe in 1970, and James McDougal in 1982).[8] In 1978, Hammerschmidt faced weak opposition from the Hot Springs real estate broker William C. Mears and instead had the resources to help the Republican gubernatorial nominee, A. Lynn Lowe, a farmer from Texarkana, win in Boone County. Lowe, who also was the state party chairman, lost, however, to Hammerschmidt's former opponent, Bill Clinton by an approximate margin of 63-37 percent.[9]

Hammerschmidt was a member of the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism (PCAST) which was set up in September 1989 to review and report on aviation security policy in the light of the sabotage of Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21, 1988.

Hammerschmidt had a conservative voting record on foreign policy and social issues, but a slightly more moderate record on economic issues.

Hammerschmidt was in the Air Force Reserve from 1945 to 1960 and the Army Reserve from 1977 to 1981. He is a Presbyterian and member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Freemasons, Shriners, Elks, Rotary International, and has Alumni status at the Alpha Zeta chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity (University of Arkansas). He served on the Arkansas State University Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2006.[4] Hammerschmidt died of heart and respiratory failure at a hospital in Springdale, Arkansas, aged 92.[10][11]



  1. ^ "John Paul Hammerschmidt (1922–) - Encyclopedia of Arkansas". Retrieved 2015-04-05. 
  2. ^ "Official Congressional Directory". Retrieved 2015-04-05. 
  3. ^ [2] "John Paul Hammerschmidt was born on May 4, 1922, in Harrison to Arthur Paul and Junie M. Hammerschmidt. Hammerschmidt was the fourth of five children. Both sets of grandparents migrated to Boone County in the early years of the twentieth century and were of German descent."
  4. ^ a b c d e f "John Paul Hammerschmidt". Retrieved 2015-04-05. 
  5. ^ "John Paul Hammerschmidt Dies at 92". Retrieved 2015-04-05. 
  6. ^ "HAMMERSCHMIDT, John Paul". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  7. ^ "Odell Pollard". Retrieved March 30, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Our Campaigns - Container Detail Page". Retrieved 2015-04-05. 
  9. ^ Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, October 14, 1978, 2804
  10. ^ "John Paul Hammerschmidt dies at 92". Arkansas April 1, 2015. Retrieved April 2, 2015. 
  11. ^ "John Paul Hammerschmidt, 92, Dies; Congressman Defeated Clinton".  
  12. ^ "John Paul Hammerschmidt, Strong Advocate For Western Arkansas, Dies at 92". Times Record. Retrieved 2015-04-05. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
James William Trimble
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Tim Hutchinson
Party political offices
Preceded by
William L. Spicer
Arkansas Republican Party State Chairman

John Paul Hammerschmidt

Succeeded by
Odell Pollard
Preceded by
Odell Pollard
Arkansas Republican Party National Committeeman

John Paul Hammerschmidt

Succeeded by
A. Lynn Lowe

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