Alan Steelman

Alan Steelman

Alan Watson Steelman (born March 15, 1942) is a Dallas businessman who was a Republican congressman from Texas between 1973 and 1977; at the time of his election, he was the youngest sitting member of Congress. He gave up his Fifth Congressional District seat to challenge Democratic the incumbent Lloyd Bentsen in the 1976 senatorial election.

Steelman was born in Little Rock, (Pulaski County) Arkansas. He attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, on a baseball scholarship. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science in 1964 and was president of his class. He received an MLA degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1971.

Congressional races, 1972 and 1974

Steelman was a visiting fellow at the John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1972. Steelman was a member of President Nixon's Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise from 1969-1972, when he was elected to Congress. Steelman unseated incumbent Democratic Congressman Earle Cabell, who had served since 1965, in the general election. Steelman polled 74,932 votes (55.7 percent) to Cabell's 59,601 (44.3 percent).

In 1974, a heavily Democratic year both in Texas and nationally, Steelman barely survived the challenge of Mike McCool. In a low-turnout election, Steelman polled 28,446 (52.1 percent) to McCool's 26,190 (47.9 percent).

Challenging Lloyd M. Bentsen, 1976

Senate returns gave Bentsen 2,199,956 (56.8 percent) to Steelman's 1,631,370 (42.2 percent). Bentsen not only defeated the 34-year-old Steelman by a comfortable margin, but he helped to bring Democratic presidential nominee Jimmy Carter to victory in Texas. Carter was in fact the last Democrat to win the electoral votes of Texas, which prior to the 1970s was one of the most loyal of Democratic states. Steelman's U.S. House seat also reverted to the Democrats in 1976, with the winner being future Texas Attorney General James Albon "Jim" Mattox.

teelman's leadership credentials

"Time" magazine listed Steelman among its "200 Emerging Young National Leaders" in 1974, in a special edition devoted to leadership in America. The defunct "Dallas Times Herald", in endorsing his re-election bid that year called him one of "the best ever sent to Congress for Texas." "Texas Monthly" magazine named him one of the top five most effective member's of the then 26-person Texas congressional delegation during only his second term. New Times, a Washington-based national magazine, named him one of the "Ten Best Congressmen" of the 435-member body in 1973.

Steelman never again sought office after the loss to Bentsen. He resides in Dallas and is president of Steelman Stonebridge, Inc., a personal investment company. He is married to Susan Seligman Fuller Steelman and is the father of five children and the stepfather of two. He is an avid golfer and reads history and biography.


"Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections", House and Senate

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