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David Worth Clark

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

D. Worth Clark
United States Senator
from Idaho
In office
January 3, 1939 – January 3, 1945
Preceded byJames P. Pope
Succeeded byGlen H. Taylor
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Idaho's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1935 – January 3, 1939
Preceded byThomas Coffin
Succeeded byHenry Dworshak
Personal details
Born(1902-04-02)April 2, 1902
Idaho Falls, Idaho
DiedJune 19, 1955(1955-06-19) (aged 53)
Los Angeles, California
Resting placeHoly Cross Cemetery,
Culver City, California
NationalityUnited States
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Virgil Irwin Clark (1901–1991)
(m. 1926–1955, his death)[1]
Children3 daughters[1]
Alma materUniversity of Notre Dame
(A.B. 1922)
Harvard Law School, 1925

David Worth Clark, aka D. Worth Clark (April 2, 1902 – June 19, 1955), was a Democratic congressman and United States Senator from Idaho, its first U.S. Senator born in the state.

Early years

According to the Idaho State Historical Society, Clark attended public schools in Idaho Falls and graduated from Idaho Falls High School. He attended Columbia University in Portland, Oregon,[2] and the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1922.

Clark graduated from Harvard Law School in 1925 and was admitted to the bar that year. He commenced practice in Idaho at Pocatello, and was the state's assistant attorney general from 1933 to 1935.



Clark was elected to the U.S. House from the 2nd district of Idaho in 1934. The seat had been vacant for several months, since the untimely death of Thomas Coffin in June. Clark was re-elected in 1936, defeating his successor, newspaper publisher Henry Dworshak of Burley.

U.S. House elections (Idaho's 2nd district): Results 1934–1936
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
1934 D. Worth Clark 57,547 60.7% Heber Q. Hale 37,200 39.3%
1936 D. Worth Clark (inc.) 67,238 60.5% Henry Dworshak 43,834 39.5%


Clark ran for the U.S. Senate in 1938 and won the Democratic primary in August over incumbent James Pope of Boise, a setback for New Deal supporters.[4] In the general election, Clark defeated Republican former state Representative Donald Callahan of Wallace. Six years later, he was defeated for renomination in the 1944 Democratic primary by Glen H. Taylor of Pocatello.

Clark vied to reclaim his Senate seat in 1950 and defeated Taylor in the primary, as Taylor became the third consecutive incumbent of that Senate seat to lose in the Democratic primary. In the general election in November, Clark lost to Republican state Senator Herman Welker of Payette, as all four congressional seats (two House, two Senate) went to Republicans.[5] Welker aligned himself in the Senate with the infamous Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin and lost his re-election bid in 1956 to 32 year-old Frank Church of Boise(husband of his cousin,  Bethine), who served four terms.

U.S. Senate elections in Idaho (Class III): Results 1938, 1950
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1938 D. Worth Clark 99,801 54.7% Donald Callahan 81,939 44.9% V.A. Verbei Progressive 845 0.46%
1950 D. Worth Clark 77,180 38.3% Herman Welker 124,237 61.7%

After Congress

After losing to Welker, Clark resumed the practice of law in Boise and Washington, D.C.. He moved to Los Angeles in 1954 and held financial interests in radio stations in Van Nuys, San Francisco, and Honolulu, and a bank in Las Vegas.


While watching television with his wife and youngest daughter, Clark died of a heart attack at his southern California home at age 53 on June 19, 1955,[6][7] and was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.[8]


Clark was a member of a prominent Idaho political family; his uncles Barzilla Clark and Chase Clark both served as governor of Idaho. His cousin Bethine, Chase Clark's daughter, married future U.S. Senator Frank Church in 1947.

Clark's wife Virgil (1901–1991) was a sister-in-law of Robert Smylie; the three-term (1955–1967) Republican governor of Idaho married her younger sister Lucile.[6]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

  1. ^ a b The American Catholic Who's Who. Walter Romig. 1946–1947. p. 64.
  2. ^ "Clark-Dworshak in race for Congress". Lewiston Morning Tribune. October 21, 1936. p. 8.
  3. ^ a b "Office of the Clerk: Election statistics". U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
  4. ^ "Pope concedes defeat in Idaho". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. August 10, 1938. p. 1.
  5. ^ "Idaho will send four-man GOP team to capital". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. November 8, 1950. p. 2.
  6. ^ a b "D. Worth Clark, ex-Senator, dies". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). United Press. June 20, 1955. p. 6.
  7. ^ "D. Worth Clark rites planned". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). United Press. June 21, 1955. p. 3.
  8. ^

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas C. Coffin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Idaho's 2nd congressional district

January 3, 1935–January 3, 1939
Succeeded by
Henry Dworshak
Party political offices
Preceded by
James P. Pope
Democratic Party nominee, U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Idaho
1938 (won)
Succeeded by
Glen H. Taylor
Preceded by
Glen H. Taylor
Democratic Party nominee, U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Idaho
1950 (lost)
Succeeded by
Frank Church
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
James P. Pope
 U.S. senator (Class 3) from Idaho
January 3, 1939–January 3, 1945
Served alongside: William Borah, John W. Thomas
Succeeded by
Glen H. Taylor
This page was last edited on 23 February 2021, at 16:54
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