Floyd Haskell

Floyd Kirk Haskell (February 7, 1916 – August 25, 1998) was an American lawyer and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as a U.S. Senator from Colorado from 1973 to 1979.

Floyd Haskell
United States Senator
from Colorado
In office
January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1979
Preceded byGordon Allott
Succeeded byWilliam L. Armstrong
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Floyd Kirk Haskell

(1916-02-07)February 7, 1916
Morristown, New Jersey
DiedAugust 25, 1998(1998-08-25) (aged 82)
Washington, D.C.
Political partyRepublican (before 1970)
Democratic (1970–1998)
Spouse(s)Eileen Nicoll (1941-1976; divorced; 3 children)
Nina Totenberg (1979-1998; his death)
Alma materHarvard University
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1941-1945
Battles/warsWorld War II

Early life and careerEdit

Floyd Haskell was born in Morristown, New Jersey, to Edward Kirk and Gladys (née Clarkson) Haskell.[1] His father was an investment banker.[2] He attended Harvard University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1937.[3] During college, he played on the football, rugby, and soccer teams, later developing as a tennis player, and was president of the Rocky Mountain Club.[4][5][6] He received a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1941.[3] That same year he married Eileen Nicoll, to whom he remained married until their divorce in 1976; they had three daughters, Ione, Evelyn, and Pamela.[7]

During World War II, Haskell served in the U.S. Army from 1941 to 1945, seeing action in Asia, viewing the immediate aftermath of Hiroshima, and reaching the rank of major.[3] He was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for his intelligence work.[7] Following his military service, he was admitted to the bar in 1946 and moved to Denver, Colorado, where he worked as a tax lawyer.[2]

In 1964, Haskell was elected as a Republican to the Colorado House of Representatives from Arapahoe County, serving until 1969.[3] As a state legislator, he became assistant majority leader in 1967 and also served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a member of the House Education and Finance Committees.[7] In 1970, he left the Republican Party and became a Democrat in protest of President Richard Nixon's invasion of Cambodia.[2]

U.S. SenateEdit

In 1972, Haskell decided to challenge three-term Republican incumbent Gordon L. Allott for a seat in the U.S. Senate. He defeated state Senator Anthony Vollack (later chief justice of the Colorado Supreme Court) in the Democratic primary.[8] In the general election, he narrowly won[9][10] a four-way race between Allott[11] and candidates from the Raza Unida Party[12] and the American Independent Party,[13] receiving only 49% of the vote.[10][14] He defeated his closest competitor, Senator Allott, by less than 10,000 votes while President Nixon carried Colorado by over 267,000 votes.[10]

Haskell was sworn into the Senate on January 3, 1973.[3] He served as a member of the Senate Finance and Energy and Natural Resources Committees, where he earned a reputation as a tax reformer and advocate for the environment.[2] He supported the historic Alaska Lands legislation and regulation of auto emissions, the Panama Canal treaties, and alternative sources of energy.[15] In 1978, lacking campaign funds and media acumen, he was defeated for re-election by Representative and future Colorado Christian University president William L. Armstrong, the first in Colorado to raise over a million dollars, losing by a margin of 59%-40%.[16]

Later life and deathEdit

After his Senate career, Haskell established his residence in Washington, D.C., where he practiced law before joining Common Cause and a bipartisan group of retired lawmakers calling for campaign finance reform and an end to congressional gridlock.[15] In 1979, he married Nina Totenberg, the legal affairs correspondent for National Public Radio; they remained married until his death in 1998.[7]

Haskell suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 1994 after falling on ice near his home in Washington.[15] He died of pneumonia four years later, at age 82, while returning from a vacation in Maine with his wife.[2]


  1. ^ "Unkelbach, Evelyn Cary". Hartford Courant. March 25, 2005.
  2. ^ a b c d e Alvarez, Lizette (August 26, 1998). "Floyd Haskell, 82, Ex-Senator From Colorado". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b c d e "HASKELL, Floyd Kirk, (1916 - 1998)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  4. ^ "CRIMSON SOCCER TEAM TREKS TO JUNGLELAND". The Harvard Crimson. November 9, 1935.
  5. ^ "Listing of Harvard Clubs". The Harvard Crimson. June 21, 1951.
  6. ^ "Lining Them Up". The Harvard Crimson. October 22, 1935.
  7. ^ a b c d "MEMORIALIZING FORMER UNITED STATES SENATOR AND STATE REPRESENTATIVE FLOYD K. HASKELL". Colorado General Assembly. Archived from the original on September 8, 2005. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
  8. ^ Rosenthal, Jack (September 10, 1972). "Primary Season Stretches On, With 9 More Tuesday". The New York Times.
  9. ^ 457,545
  10. ^ a b c "Statistics of the Presidential and Congressional Election of November 7, 1972" (PDF). Clerk of the United States House of Representatives.
  11. ^ 447,957
  12. ^ 13,228
  13. ^ 7,353
  14. ^ "United States Congressional Elections 1972 - Colorado". The Elections Geek. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  15. ^ a b c "Floyd Haskell Dies". The Washington Post. August 26, 1998.
  16. ^ "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 1978" (PDF). Clerk of the United States House of Representatives.

External linksEdit

U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 2) from Colorado
Served alongside: Peter H. Dominick, Gary Hart
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic Party nominee for United States Senator from Colorado (Class 2)
1972, 1978
Succeeded by