Tom Harkin

official photo of Tom Harkin

Birth Name: Thomas Richard Harkin

Place of Birth: Cumming, Iowa, U.S.

Date of Birth: November 19, 1939

*Irish (father)
*Slovenian (mother)

Tom Harkin is an American politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Iowa, from January 3, 1975 to January 3, 1985, and a U.S. Senator from Iowa, from January 3, 1985 to January 3, 2015.

He was a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States in 1992.

Tom is the son of Franciska/Frances (Berčič/Bersich) Valentine and Patrick Francis Harkin. His father was born in Iowa, of Irish descent. His mother was born in Suha, Slovenia. He is married to attorney Ruth (Raduenz) Harkin, with whom he has two children.

Tom’s paternal grandfather was John Harkin (the son of Daniel Harkin and Mary Rose Carney/Kearney). John was born in Wisconsin, to parents who were born in Donegal, Ireland. Daniel was son of Thomas H. Harkin and Mary McLaughlin.

Tom’s paternal grandmother was Mary Meade (the daughter of John Meade and Bridget McLaughlin). Mary was born in New York, to Irish parents. John was born in Meath, the son of Christopher Meade and Margaret Wall.

Tom’s maternal grandfather was named Jakob Berčič.

Tom’s maternal grandmother was named Marija Jugovec/Jugovic.

Tom is one of four people of significant Slavic ancestry to have won a major American party’s Presidential caucus and/or primary. He won 1 state in 1992, Iowa. The other three people are:
*Harold Stassen (Republican; in 1944, he won 1 state, Nebraska; in 1948, he won 4 states; in 1952, he won 1 state, Minnesota; Stassen also sought the 1964, 1968, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992 Republican nominations; Stassen’s paternal grandmother was Czech)
*Edmund Muskie (1972; Democratic; won 4 states; Muskie was previously the 1968 Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States; he was of Polish descent)
*John Kasich (Republican; ran in 2000 and 2016: in 2016, he won 1 state, Ohio; Kasich is of Czech or Rusyn, and Croatian descent)

Other people of significant Slavic ancestry who have mounted plausible or semi-plausible campaigns for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States are:
*George H. Bender (who sought the 1960 Republican nomination; Bender was of Czech descent)
*James Traficant (who sought the 1988 Democratic nomination; Traficant’s mother was of Slovak descent)
*Dennis Kucinich (who sought the 2004 and 2008 Democratic nominations; Kucinich’s father was of Croatian descent)
*Gary Johnson (who sought the 2012 Republican nomination, and was the Libertarian Party’s 2012 and 2016 nominee for President of the United States; Johnson’s mother was of Ukrainian descent)
*Tim Pawlenty (who sought the 2012 Republican nomination; Pawlenty’s father was of Polish descent)
*Amy Klobuchar (who sought the 2020 Democratic nomination; Klobuchar’s father was of Slovene descent)
*Joe Sestak (who sought the 2020 Democratic nomination; Sestak’s father was of Slovak descent)
*Perry Johnson (who sought the 2024 Republican nomination; Johnson’s mother was of Rusyn and Slovak descent)

Source: Genealogy of Tom Harkin (focusing on his father’s side) –

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