David Keith McCurdy
(born March 30
) is a U.S. lawyer
, Conservative Democrat
, and a former Oklahoma Congressman
from Oklahoma's 4th congressional district
Early life and entry into politics
McCurdy was born in the town of Canadian
, Hemphill County
. He received an undergraduate degree
from the University of Oklahoma
in 1972 and a law degree
there in 1975. He studied international economics
at the University of Edinburgh
, as a Rotary International Graduate Fellow
, and served in the United States Air Force Reserve
, attaining the rank
and serving as a Judge Advocate General
(JAG). He was an Assistant Attorney General
for the State of Oklahoma from 1975 to 1977.
Career in Congress
Running for Congress
In 1980 McCurdy decided to run for Oklahoma's 4th congressional district
seat in Congress, which was being vacated by the retirement from Congress of Tom Steed
. In November, McCurdy was elected as a Democrat, although distancing himself from the national party, to the 97th
and to the six succeeding Congresses (1981–1995). He trailed Oklahoma House Majority Leader James B. Townsend
, also from Shawnee
, in the Democratic primary 40% to 34%, then won 51.2% of the vote in the runoff election. McCurdy defeated Townsend with campaign commercials espousing prayer in public and support for a Christ statue in the Wichita mountains, near Lawton.
McCurdy then defeated Republican Howard Rutledge 74,245 to 71,339 in the general election.
McCurdy defeated Rutledge again in 1982 by a vote of 84,205 to 44,351. He won a third term in 1984 by defeating Jerry Smith 109,447 to 60,844, with Libertarian Gordon Mobley picking up 1% of the vote. After winning 81% of the Democratic primary vote in 1986, McCurdy coasted to a fourth term with 94,984 votes (76.1%) over Republican Larry Humphreys.
McCurdy had no Republican opponent in 1988, and won in 1990 with 73.6% of the vote in the general election. In 1992 he received 70.7% of the final tally.
Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee
After deciding to specialize in national security
issues, McCurdy was eventually chosen to served as Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a committee with oversight authority over the Central Intelligence Agency
and the National Security Agency
. McCurdy is considered to be the youngest person in Congressional history to chair a full committee
Other work in Congress
In Congress, McCurdy played a major role in the following pieces of legislation: the 1988 National Superconductivity Competitiveness Act; the 1985 Goldwater-Nichols Act, which re-organized the U.S. Department of Defense
; the Nunn-McCurdy Amendment
of 1982, requiring Congressional notification of Defense cost overruns of 15% or more; and the 1993 National Service Legislation, which originated in a bill introduced by Congressman McCurdy and former Georgia
Senator Sam Nunn
McCurdy is also considered a co-founder (and was the national chairman) of the Democratic Leadership Council
, a group that sought to moderate
the Democratic Party. In 1992, McCurdy supported the Presidential candidacy of Bill Clinton
, another DLC member, giving a speech seconding the nomination at the Democratic Party National Convention.
Despite his vocal support for Clinton, some sources, like George Stephanopolous, Clinton's close aide, claimed later that Clinton insiders knew the ambitious McCurdy had attempted to start his own presidential campaign, failing to raise necessary funds while billing himself as a "alternative for Clinton", This was hardly a secret since McCurdy appeared on The Tonight Show while in California making the rounds of Hollywood political donors.
Steve Clemens wrote, in HuffingtonPost.com
McCurdy was the favorite in New Hampshire circles in 1992 and was pushed hard to run for his party's presidential nomination. He opted not to run — but he was the person who formally nominated then Governor Bill Clinton for President at the 1992 Democratic National Convention. When Clinton won the presidency, Bill Clinton and his then chief of Staff Thomas "Mack" McLarty preferred Dave McCurdy for the top Pentagon spot. Hillary Clinton and George Stephanopoulos preferred Les Aspin, who ultimately got the job. In a consolation move — McCurdy was offered the directorship of the CIA, which he rejected but suggested R. James Woolsey — a fellow Oklahoman.
1994 run for the U.S. Senate
In 1994, when U.S. Senator David Boren
decided to retire from the U.S. Senate
before the expiration of his term, McCurdy decided not to seek re-election to the House of Representatives
and, instead, run for the Senate
McCurdy campaigned on military preparedness and family values. He lost to Republican (and former Tulsa mayor) James Inhofe, whose campaign ads played clips of McCurdy's speech advocating Clinton's election. McCurdy sent his congressional records and papers to the Carl Albert Center for Congressional Studies at The University of Oklahoma.
Career after Congress
McCurdy was chairman and chief executive officer of the McCurdy Group L.L.C, and in 1998 he was elected President of the Electronic Industries Alliance
a national trade organization representing the electronics industry. The move was not without controversy. Then Tom DeLay
"stopped two uncontroversial trade bills that would have benefited the EIA and told the association it would lose all GOP access unless it hired a Republican instead. The EIA ignored the threats and appointed McCurdy anyway.. DeLay was later rebuked by the House Ethics Committee.
On February 12, 2007, McCurdy became president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
McCurdy, his wife, Dr. Pam McCurdy, a physician specializing in child psychiatry, and his children Joshua, Cydney, and Shannon live in McLean, Virginia.