Sen. Howard Metzenbaum
(1917 - 2008)
Howard Morton Metzenbaum was born in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, June 4, 1917. He graduated from Ohio State University, Columbus in 1939 and Ohio State University School of Law in 1941. Metzenbaum was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1941 and commenced practice in Cleveland. He served in the Ohio house of representatives (1943-1947) and the Ohio senate (1947-1951). In 1958, he was the campaign manager for United States Senator Stephen M. Young. In 1964, he was unsuccessful in his bid for the U.S. Senate. In 1970, Metzenbaum chaired a group of suburban weeklies in the Cleveland area. Metzenbaum was appointed by the Governor on January 4, 1974, to serve as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of William B. Saxbe. He served from January 4, 1974 until his resignation December 23, 1974. He was unsuccessful in his campaign for renomination in 1974 and subsequently resumed the practice of law. He was then elected on November 2, 1976 to the United States Senate for the term commencing January 3, 1977, and subsequently appointed by the Governor, December 29, 1976, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Robert Taft, Jr. for the term ending January 3, 1983. Metzenbaum was reelected in 1982 and again in 1988 and served from December 29, 1976 to January 3, 1995. He was not a candidate for reelection in 1994.
An unapologetic liberal, Metzenbaum helped pass measures to strengthen workers and consumers’ rights, including a bill to provide employees with 60 days’ notice of plant closings. He also promoted the Brady bill, which mandated a waiting period when buying a handgun. Metzenbaum was a frequent critic of big business and earned the nickname “Senator No” for his success in blocking bills he considered overly favorable to special interests. After leaving office, he served as head of the Consumer Federation of America, a consumer advocacy group.
Metzenbaum died at the age of 90 on March 12, 2008 at his home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Patterson, Samuel C., and Thomas W. Kephart. “The Case of the Wayfaring Challenger: The 1988 Senate Election in Ohio.” Congress & the Presidency 18 (Autumn 1991): 105-20.
Sources: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Photo U.S. Senate Historical Office. Reuters (March 13, 2008).