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Floyd James Fithian (November 3, 1928 – June 27, 2003) was an American politician who was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Indiana. A member of the Democratic Party, Fithian represented Indiana's 2nd congressional district from 1975 into 1983.[1]

Floyd Fithian
Floyd Fithian.png
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1983
Preceded byEarl Landgrebe
Succeeded byPhilip Sharp
Personal details
Floyd James Fithian

(1928-11-03)November 3, 1928
Vesta, Johnson County, Nebraska, U.S.
DiedJune 27, 2003(2003-06-27) (aged 74)
Annandale, Virginia
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Arlington County, Virginia
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Marjorie Fithian
Alma materPeru State College (B.A)
University of Nebraska (Ph.D.)

Early life education and careerEdit

Born and raised in Vesta, Johnson County, Nebraska, Fithian graduated from Vesta High School, in 1947.[2] After graduating, Fithian joined the United States Navy in 1951, where earned the rank of a Lieutenant when he left in 1955.[3] Fithian served in the United States Navy Reserve from 1955 to 1971, and later retired from with the rank of a Commander.[4]

He attended Peru State College in Peru, Nebraska, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in 1951 and was the first in his family to graduate from college. He also attended the University of Nebraska, where he received his Master of Arts in 1955, and his Ph.D. in American History in 1964.[5] He taught at Nebraska Wesleyan University before, moving to Lafayette, Indiana in 1964 where he was an Associate Professor of History at Purdue University.[6] During his time at Purdue, he managed and operated a small farm in Tippecanoe County.[7]

United States House of RepresentativesEdit

In 1972, Fithian ran for the United States House of Representatives, challenging Republican incumbent Congressman Earl Landgrebe to represent Indiana's 2nd congressional district. Fithian lost in the general with 91,533 votes (45.33%), to Landgrebe's 110,406 votes (54.67%).[8] Fithian challenged Landgrebe to a rematch in 1974, running for the 94th United States Congress. Landgrebe who had been an ardent supporter of President Richard Nixon until the very end of his presidency, saw backlash from those in his district.[9] Fithian won the general election in the Democratic landslide year of 1974, winning 61% of the vote, to Landgrebe's 38%.[10] Fithian ran well district wide, but particularly in Tippecanoe County with the votes of Purdue students, faculty and staff providing a large margin in the county.

He was reelected to three more terms, serving from January 3, 1975, to January 3, 1983. Fithian defeated Republican Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, William W. Erwin in 1976.[11][12] He won with 56% of the vote against Republican Jay Phillip Oppenheim, Independent candidate William Costas, American Party candidate James Hensley Logan in 1978,[13] and defeated Indiana State Senator and Lake County Commissioner Ernest Niemeyer in 1980.[14][15]

During his tenure, Fithian served on the House Small Business Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on Government Operations where he served on the House Select Committee on Assassinations to investigated the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.[16][17]

1982 U.S. Senate electionEdit

After the 1980 Census, Fithian's district was split into more conservative territory, with Fithian ultimately announcing he would retire from the House and run for Secretary of State of Indiana.[18] But briefly after he launched his candidacy for Secretary of State, he announced he would run for the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate. He faced Indiana State Senator Michael Kendall, who he earlier encouraged to run for the Senate.[19] Fithian won the Democratic primary with 59% of the vote, and went on to face one term incumbent Richard Lugar in Indiana's 1982 Senate election.[20] On November 2, 1982, he was defeated by Lugar who won 53% of the voted, compared to Fithian's 46%.[21]

Later political career and deathEdit

After his defeat, served as Chief of Staff for Senator Paul Simon of Illinois from 1983 to 1992, and worked as the campaign manager for Simon's 1988 presidential campaign.[22] Fithian also worked for Senator Lloyd Bentsen as the finance director when he was the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from 1983 to 1985.[23] After working for Simon, he joined the Department of Agriculture working as Secretary of the Farm Credit Administration.[24]

Fithian died on June 27, 2003, in Annandale, Virginia. He is interred in Arlington National Cemetery.


  1. ^ "FITHIAN, Floyd James, (1928 - 2003)". Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  2. ^ Purdue University. "Fithian, Floyd J. (1928 - 2003)". Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  3. ^ "Floyd Fithian, 76; Congressman, Farmer, Purdue Professor". July 4, 2003. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  4. ^ PR Newswire (June 30, 2003). "Former Indiana Congressman Floyd Fithian Passed Away Over the Weekend". Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  5. ^ Farm Credit Administration (February 12, 1999). "FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION NEWS" (PDF). Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  6. ^ "Floyd Fithian; Former Congressman, 76". The New York Times. July 7, 2003. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  7. ^ United States. Congress; Andrew R. Dodge; Betty K. Koed. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005: The Continental Congress, September 5, 1774, to October 21, 1788, and the Congress of the United States, from the First Through the One Hundred Eighth Congresses, March 4, 1789, to January 3, 2005, Inclusive. Government Printing Office. p. 1056. ISBN 978-0-16-073176-1. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  8. ^ Benjamin J. Guthrie, W. Pat Jennings (March 15, 1973). "STATISTICS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL AND CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION NOVEMBER 7, 1972" (PDF). Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  9. ^ Associated Press (July 1, 1986). "EARL F. LANDGREBE". The New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  10. ^ Benjamin J. Guthrie, W. Pat Jennings (August 1, 1973). "STATISTICS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL AND CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION NOVEMBER 4, 1974" (PDF). Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  11. ^ "William W. Erwin". Purdue University. Retrieved February 23, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  12. ^ Benjamin J. Guthrie, Edmund L. Henshaw Jr. (April 15, 1975). "STATISTICS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL AND CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION NOVEMBER 2, 1976" (PDF). Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  13. ^ Benjamin J. Guthrie, Edmund L. Henshaw Jr. (April 1, 1979). "STATISTICS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL AND CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION NOVEMBER 7, 1978" (PDF). Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  14. ^ "Tribute To Ernest Niemeyer Rep. Peter J. Visclosky". February 11, 1997. Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  15. ^ Thomas E. Ladd, Edmund L. Henshaw Jr. (April 15, 1981). "STATISTICS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL AND CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION NOVEMBER 4, 1980" (PDF). Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  16. ^ "Floyd James Fithian Commander, United States Navy Member of Congress". Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  17. ^ National Archives and Records Administration (March 29, 1979). "Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives". Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  18. ^ "Floyd James Fithian Commander, United States Navy Member of Congress". Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  19. ^ Associated Press (May 5, 1982). "Senate Candidates Chosen in Indiana". Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  20. ^ "IN US Senate- D Primary". June 13, 2005. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  21. ^ Thomas A. Ladd, Benjamin J. Guthrie (May 5, 1983). "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 5, 1982" (PDF). Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  22. ^ Richard L. Berke (September 24, 1987). "WASHINGTON TALK: POLITICS; 3 Former Congressmen Join Simon's Campaign". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 24, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2013.He is the only former House member to subsequently serve as a staffer in the Senate.
  23. ^ "Aristocrat Respected As Legislator". The Philadelphia Inquirer. July 13, 1988. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  24. ^ Farm Credit Administration (April 22, 1998). "POLICY STATEMENT--Financial Institution Rating System [BM-9-APR-98-02]". Archived from the original on September 25, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2013.

External linksEdit