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Thomas Fisher Railsback (b. January 22, 1932 in Moline, Illinoismarker) served eight terms in the United States Congress from 1967-1983 for in Molinemarker.

Early life

Railsback attended public schools in Moline, received a B.A. from Grinnell College in 1954; and a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Lawmarker, Chicagomarker in 1957. He served in the United States Army from 1957-1959.

Political career

Railsback served as a member of the Illinois State House of Representatives from 1962-1966 before being elected as a Republican to Congress in 1966. He was elected in 1966 defeating incumbent U.S. Rep. Gale Schisler in a hotly competitive race. The race was a very friendly one with little to no negative attacks on each other, though Railsback credited his victory to the unpopularity of President Lyndon Johnson. A moderate Republican, he served on the House Judiciary Committee in the mid-1970s. He voted for one of the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon when they were pending in committee, one of six Republicans to support at least one article.

In 1980, the Congressman was one of three U.S. House members (the others were future Vice President Dan Quayle (R-Indiana) and Tom Evans (R-Delaware)) involved in the controversial Floridamarker golfing trip with lobbyist Paula Parkinson.

In 1982, Railsback's district was renumbered as the 17th District; Illinois had lost two districts after the 1980 census. He was defeated for renomination by a considerably more conservative Republican, Kenneth G. McMillan. McMillan was defeated by Democrat Lane Evans in November.

After leaving Congress, he worked as a lobbyist for the telecommunications industry and federal judges association. He has residences in Palm Desert, Californiamarker, and McCall, Idahomarker.

Electoral history

  • Election of November 8, 1966
    • Thomas F. Railsback (R) - 77,895 52%
    • Gale Schisler(D) - 71,050 48%
  • Election of November 5, 1968
    • Thomas F. Railsback (R) - 114,948 63%
    • Craig Lovitt (D) - 66,135 37%
  • Election of November 3, 1970
    • Thomas F. Railsback (R) - 92,247 68%
    • James L. Shaw (D) - 43,094 32%
  • Election of November 7, 1972
    • Thomas F. Railsback (R) - 138,123 100%
  • Election of November 4, 1974
    • Thomas F. Railsback (R) - 84,049 65%
    • James Gende (D) - 44,677 35%
  • Election of November 2, 1976
    • Thomas F. Railsback (R) - 132,571 68%
    • John Craver (D) - 60,967 32%
  • Election of November 7, 1978
    • Thomas F. Railsback (R) - 89,770 100%
  • Election of November 4, 1980
    • Thomas F. Railsback (R) - 142,616 73%
    • Thomas J. Hand (D) - 51,753 27%
  • Primary Election of March 16, 1982


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