George H.W. Bush Elected to U.S. House of Representatives

Bush served as Chairman of the Republican Party for Harris County, Texas in 1964, but wanted to be more involved in policy making, so he set his stakes high: he aimed for a US Senate seat from Texas.

After winning the Republican primary, Bush faced his opponent, incumbent Democrat Ralph W. Yarborough. Yarborough attacked Bush as a right-wing extremist, and Bush lost the general election.

Bush did not give up on elective politics and was elected in 1966 to a House of Representatives seat from the 7th District of Texas, defeating Democrat Frank Briscoe with 57% of the vote; he became the first Republican to represent Houston. His voting record in the House was generally conservative: Bush opposed the public accommodations contention in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and supported open-housing legislation, something generally unpopular in his district. He supported the Nixon administration's Vietnam policies, but broke with Republicans on the issue of birth control. Despite being a first-term congressman, Bush was appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, where he voted to abolish the military draft. He was elected to a second term in 1968.

Following an unsuccessful bid for a Senate seat in 1964, Bush was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1966 from Texas' Seventh District. One of the few freshman members of Congress elected to serve on the Ways and Means Committee, he was reelected to the House two years later without opposition. Bush lost a second campaign for the Senate in 1970.

As his business prospered, he moved to a larger house in Midland in 1955 and to Houston four years later. When he left active management of his company in 1966, he was already a millionaire.

That same year, Bush began the first of his two terms as a member of the United States House of Representatives, following his father into politics; Prescott Bush served as United States senator from Connecticut from 1952 to 1963. Unsuccessful in two campaigns for the Senate, George H. W. Bush next served in a series of high-level appointed positions, including ambassador to the United Nations, chairman of the Republican National Committee, chief of the U.S. Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China, and director of the Central Intelligence Agency.