Former Connecticut senator and governor Lowell Weicker dies

 June 29, 2023

Lowell Weicker, the liberal Republican who served Connecticut for years as a senator and governor, died Wednesday at the age of 92. 

A self-described "maverick" and quintessential Rockefeller Republican, Weicker was known as a vocal critic of the right during his time in the spotlight.

Largely unknown prior to the Watergate hearings, Weicker, then a freshman senator, became famous for his sharp criticism of President Nixon.

Republican Weicker dies

Weicker would later admit the scandal that had unmade Nixon - who had supported Weicker before his rise to prominence - was the start of his political fortunes.

“As a politician, I wasn’t hurt by Watergate. I was made by it," he wrote in his memoir.

As a senator, Weicker was a vocal opponent of school prayer and abortion restrictions. During the racially turbulent 1970s, he tangled with arch conservative Jesse Helms over forced bussing.

Weicker's "independent" streak aroused conservative opposition that eventually sank his 1988 re-election campaign against Democrat Joe Lieberman.

“You have got to be prepared to stand up and say what you think is right even if it is not what your party is telling you to do. And I think that is a really important part of Lowell Weicker’s legacy in Connecticut history and in national history as well,” Lieberman said Wednesday.


A quintessential "Rockefeller Republican," Weicker was born in Paris and raised in New York and Long Island. He was educated at Yale and University of Virginia Law School, also serving in the Army for two years before pursuing politics.

He served one term in the House of Representatives before rising to the Senate in 1970. He served three terms there before losing his Senate seat to Lieberman.

Weicker returned to politics in 1990, winning election to be governor of Connecticut as an independent. He served a single, controversial term, in which he responded to a steep deficit by adopting the state's first income tax.

The move inflamed popular opposition, and thousands swarmed the state Capitol in protest. He was given a JFK Profiles in Courage Award for bucking popular opinion.

Three marriages

As the Republican party turned to Donald Trump in 2016, Weicker continued to speak out about what he saw as the party's amoral drift.

"The party of Lincoln, once governed by ideals and principles that reflected prudent financial governance and social conscience, is no more," he said.

Like Trump, Weicker was married three times. He is survived by his last wife and five sons, as well as two stepchildren.

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