Lutherans in new Congress reflect recent voting trends
Two-thirds are now Democrats, reversing a previous pattern
When the new U.S. Congress went to work on January 3, there were 18 Lutherans in the ranks — 15 in the House of Representatives and three in the Senate.
Fifteen of the 18, eleven in the House and all three in the Senate, are members of ELCA congregations. There are two LCMS House members and two WELS.
In 1972, the U.S. Lutheran delegation was 67% Repub-lican. Today’s group is 67% Democrat.
Upper Midwest ELCA members of the House of Representatives include:
* Collin C. Peterson, Minnesota, Democrat;
* Tim Walz, Minnesota, Democrat;
* Stephanie Herseth, South Dakota, Democrat;
* Tom Latham, Iowa, Republican;
* Thomas E. Petri, Wisconsin, Republican.
Others include: Lois Capps and Zoe Lofgren, both California Democrats; John R. Carter, Texas, Republican; Norman D. Dicks, Washington, Democrat; Diane Hooley, Oregon, Democrat; Bill Shuster, Pennsylvania, Republican.
House members who belong to the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) are Dave Reichert, Washington, Republican; and John M. Shimkus, Illinois, Republican.
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) has two House members from the upper-Midwest:
* Michelle Bachman, Minnesota, Republican;
* Ron Kind, Wisconsin, Democrat.
The three ELCA senators include Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota; Tim Johnson, South Dakota; and Sherrod Brown, Ohio. All three are Dem-ocrats.
Johnson made national headlines during December when he was hospitalized with a medical emergency. If he had not recovered, the governor of South Dakota would likely have appointed a Republican to replace him, throwing control of the Senate to the Republicans.
At last report, Johnson is mending satisfactorily.
Congressman Martin Olaf Sabo, a Minneapolis Democrat and member of the ELCA, did not run for re-election. His replacement, Democrat Keith Ellison, made headlines by becoming the first Muslim in history to be elected to the U.S. Congress.