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Republicans Who Swept Into Power in '94 Mostly Felled By Sex and Corruption Scandals

This post originally appeared on the Washington Monthly. When Republicans talk about the 2010 midterms, they invariably use 1994 as a benchmark, and hope to duplicate that level of success. Electorally, that makes sense; '94 was the cycle Republicans took the majority in both chambers. But in terms of quality, the GOP should probably aim higher. After all, in hindsight, the historic, "revolutionary" Class of '94 looks a little ... sleazy. Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.), for example, announced his resignation this morning, in light of the "family-values" conservative's new sex scandal. Dave Weigel takes stock of his cohorts from the same class:
Rep. Jim Bunn (R-Ore.) divorced his wife and married his chief of staff in 1995; he lost reelection in 1996. Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) resigned in 2006 after pleading guilty to corruption charges. Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) resigned in 2006 after former pages accused him of sexually harassing them. Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) admitted an affair with a former campaign aide in 2009 -- he lost a leadership post but stayed in the Senate. Gov. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), elected to the House in 1994, admitted an affair with an Argentine journalist in 2009 but retained his job. And now, Souder.
By why stop there? Rep. Enid Greene (R-Utah ) was elected in 1994, but didn't seek re-election after authorities learned her campaign was financed in part by funds embezzled by her husband. Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-Idaho) was elected in 1994, and was perhaps best known for having carried on a six-year extra-marital affair. And then there was Rep. Wes Cooley (R-Ore.), who became something of a national joke for wild fabrications on his resume, and who was later indicted on "federal money laundering and tax charges in connection with his role in an alleged scheme that prosecutors said bilked more than $10 million from investors." It was quite a class, wasn't it?
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