Robert C. "Bob" Smith (born March 30,
1941) is an American politician who has served in both the United States House of
Representatives and the Senate.
He is a member of the
born in Trenton, New
Jersey. He obtained a bachelor's degree from Lafayette
College in 1965 and served in the United States Navy from 1965 to 1967,
including a year of duty in Vietnam.
Smith then taught history
and got into the real estate
relocated to New
unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the U.S.
Representatives in 1982. However, he ran again two years later, and
won election, going on to represent New Hampshire's 1st
in the U.S. House of Representatives
from 1985 to December 1990. He was elected to the Senate in 1990 to
succeed the retiring Republican Senator Gordon J. Humphrey
. He began to serve in December
1990 because he was appointed to the position early following
Humphrey's resignation. The Vietnam War POW/MIA issue
concerning the fate of possible missing or captured Americans in
Vietnam, became Smith's major issue in Congress in 1985, partly
spurred on by his growing up without knowing how his own father
died in World War II
. Smith helped
create, and served as vice-chairman of, the 1991–1993 Senate Select
Committee on POW/MIA Affairs
. Smith was reelected in 1996 and
served until 2003. In his 1996 reelection campaign he defeated
Democrat Dick Swett
with 49% of the vote. Smith had
established himself as the most conservative Senator from the
Northeast, and Bill Clinton
nearly caused his defeat.
In January 1999, Smith announced that he was a candidate for the
Republican nomination for president (at the time the front-runner
was Texas Governor George W. Bush
). In July, after failing to gain any
ground in the presidential race, Smith announced he was leaving the
Republican Party and would seek the nomination of the U.S. Taxpayers Party
president. One month later, Smith swore off the Taxpayers Party and
announced as an independent
. He withdrew completely
from the race in October and endorsed Bush.
In the meantime, Sen. John Chafee
(R-R.I.) had died
and thus the chairmanship of the Senate
Committee on Environment and Public Works had reopened.
Smith recanted his repudiation of the Republican party, claiming it
had been "a mistake" and claiming that since he had never
officially changed his voting registration that he had never left
the party. Smith then was appointed as Chafee's successor to the
Smith was defeated in the Republican primary by John E. Sununu
and was denied re-nomination. He moved to Sarasota, Florida, after his defeat to sell real estate.
In 2004, John Kerry
made public a
personal endorsement from Smith via email for his bid for
president, in which Smith cites the growing federal deficit and
Kerry's plan to balance the federal budget (source needed). In a
private email (see discussion page) Smith regrets this
'endorsement' in retrospect, and claims it was done because
and George Bush
'broke their word' and supported
, causing Smith's defeat in
his 2002 Senatorial primary.
Smith considered running for the US Senate seat
from Florida in 2004
now held by Mel
, but dropped out after raising little money and
receiving less than 1% support in Republican polls.
Less than a month before the November 2004 election, Smith wrote an
op-ed for the Concord
in which he denounced the lack of Republican
outrage over phone
on Election Day 2002, in which Republican operatives
had jammed phone banks used by the Democrats to contact Democratic
voters and get them to the polls. Smith implied that this action
may have made the difference in Shaheen's narrow loss to
In December 2007, Smith endorsed Congressman Duncan Hunter
of California for the Republican
In January 2008, Smith began writing editorials on the web page of
(formerly called the U.S. Taxpayers' Party), which fueled
speculation that Smith intended to seek the party's presidential
nomination. The nomination went to Chuck
, a Baptist pastor.
In February 2009, with Martinez having announced that he would retire from the Senate in January 2011, Smith was again considering running for the seat, though it has also been reported that he is considering a return to New Hampshire to run for the Senate seat there, especially if his old nemesis John E. Sununu (who was defeated for re-election in 2008) seeks the seat. On April 9, 2009, Politico reported that Smith will seek the Republican nomination for Florida's 2010 Senate election.
Smith stands 6' 6" (1.98m) tall. He and his wife Mary Jo have three