Bob Stump
Chair of the House Armed Services Committee
In office
January 4, 2001 – January 3, 2003
SpeakerDennis Hastert
Preceded byFloyd Spence
Succeeded byDuncan Hunter
Chair of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee
In office
January 4, 1995 – January 4, 2001
SpeakerNewt Gingrich
Dennis Hastert
Preceded bySonny Montgomery
Succeeded byChris Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1977 – January 3, 2003
Preceded bySam Steiger
Succeeded byTrent Franks (Redistricting)
Personal details
Robert Lee Stump

April 4, 1927
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
DiedJune 20, 2003(2003-06-20) (aged 76)
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Resting placeGreenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery
(Phoenix, Arizona)
Political partyDemocratic (1958–1982)
Republican (1982–2003)
SpouseNancy Stump
Alma materArizona State University
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1943–1946
Battles/warsWorld War II

Robert Lee Stump (April 4, 1927 – June 20, 2003) was an American politician who served as a U.S. Congressman from Arizona. He served as a member from the Democratic Party from 1977 to 1983 and then later a member of the Republican Party until the end of his tenure as congressman.

Early life and career

Stump was born in Phoenix, and was a U.S. Navy World War II combat veteran, where he served on the USS Tulagi from 1943 to 1946. He graduated from Tolleson Union High School in 1947, and Arizona State University in 1951 where he was a member of the Delta Chi fraternity. He owned a cotton and grain farm in the Phoenix suburb of Tolleson for many years.

He served four terms in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1959 to 1967, and five terms in the Arizona State Senate, from 1967 to 1976. He served as President of the Arizona State Senate from 1975 to 1976.

Member of Congress

He was first elected to the 95th Congress on November 2, 1976, originally as a Democrat from the 3rd Congressional District, a vast district stretching from western Phoenix through Prescott to Lake Havasu City and the Grand Canyon. He defeated state senate minority leader Fred Koory with 47 percent of the vote.[1]

Stump wore his party ties very loosely. He considered himself a "Pinto Democrat," the popular name for conservative Democrats from rural Arizona, and his voting record was strongly conservative. His profile was similar to those of conservative Democrats from the South. He voted for Ronald Reagan's tax cuts in 1981. Shortly after that vote, he announced he would become a Republican when Congress reconvened in January 1982. Regardless of his party affiliation, he never faced serious competition at the ballot box. After his initial run for Congress, he only dropped below 60 percent of the vote once, in 1990. He only faced an independent in 1978, and was completely unopposed in 1986.[2]

He briefly considered running for the Senate in 1986 after Barry Goldwater decided to retire.[3]

Described as "quiet" and "assiduously private",[3] Stump kept a fairly low profile for most of his tenure. He had only a skeleton staff; he was known to answer the phone himself at his Washington, D.C. office, and to open his own mail.[3][4][5] Stump usually returned home to work his farm in Tolleson on weekends.

In November 1997, Stump was one of eighteen Republicans in the House to co-sponsor a resolution by Bob Barr that sought to launch an impeachment inquiry against President Bill Clinton.[6][7] The resolution did not specify any charges or allegations.[7] This was an early effort to impeach Clinton, predating the eruption of the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal. The eruption of that scandal would ultimately lead to a more serious effort to impeach Clinton in 1998.[8] On October 8, 1998, Stump voted in favor of legislation that was passed to open an impeachment inquiry.[9] On December 19, 1998, Stump voted in favor of all four proposed articles of impeachment against Clinton (only two of which received the majority of votes needed to be adopted).[10][11][12][13]

In his 26 years in the House he became a noted member of the House Armed Services Committee, serving as chairman from 2001 to 2003. He'd chaired the House Veterans' Affairs Committee from 1995 to 2001, when he was forced to give that post up due to caucus-imposed term limits. He is one of the few members of the House to chair both committees.[14] He consistently supported increased spending on the military and veterans.[4][5][15] The 2003 military appropriations authorization act was named after him in recognition of his commitment to the military as the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003.[16]

Stump sponsored bills to make English the official language for government business and to alter laws so that children born on US soil to non-citizen parents would not automatically be citizens.[5] According to Amy Silverson, he was "best known in Congress as a perpetual naysayer, casting votes against almost all spending programs."[3]

Between 1976 and 2002, he accumulated a lifetime score of 97 (out of 100) from the American Conservative Union.[17] He received very low scores from the National Council of Senior Citizens, the American Civil Liberties Union, the AFL–CIO, the NAACP, and the League of Conservation Voters.[18]

Although his district included the entire northwestern portion of Arizona, the great majority of its residents lived in the West Valley. Stump was often accused of addressing himself mainly to the West Valley and ignoring the other portions of his sprawling district, even though the district's center of gravity had moved to the West Valley as early as the 1970s. Indeed, many of his constituents rarely saw him. He maintained his district office in downtown Phoenix, outside his own district, for many years.[3] Although he claimed his farm in Tolleson as his residence in the district, his main residence was in another portion of Phoenix outside the district. However, Stump told The Arizona Republic that he saw the farm as "my place of business," and knew that "nobody ever thought I resided there." He believed that "you declare your residency wherever you want.[19]

Bob Hope announcement

After the Associated Press mistakenly placed Bob Hope's obituary on its web site in June 1998, Stump announced on the floor of the House that the entertainer had died.[20][21] This was quickly denied by his daughter and publicist; Hope outlived Stump by five weeks, dying in 2003 at the age of 100.

Death and legacy

Grave site of Robert Lee Stump and Nancy Stump (who is still alive, as of 2018)

He decided not to run for re-election in 2002 due to declining health. He endorsed his longtime chief of staff, Lisa Jackson Atkins, as his successor in what was then numbered as the 2nd District. Atkins had been very visible in the district, to the point that many thought she actually represented it rather than Stump. However, Atkins was defeated in a seven way Republican primary by Trent Franks, who held the seat until December 2017. Stump died June 20, 2003, of myelodysplasia, a blood disorder and was buried at Greenwood/Memory Lawn Mortuary & Cemetery in Phoenix with full military honors.[3][4][15]

In 2004, the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Prescott, Arizona, was renamed the Bob Stump Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Stump is no relation to the member of the Arizona Corporation Commission of the same name. In 2006, SR 303L was renamed the Bob Stump Memorial Highway.[22]

In 2018, Stump's widow issued a letter, criticizing an Arizona state government politician of the same name for allegedly capitalizing on her late husband's name. The letter was met with a sharp rebuke by the state government politician's mother.[23]

See also


  1. ^ "Our Campaigns - AZ District 3 Race - Nov 02, 1976".
  2. ^ "Our Campaigns - Candidate - Robert Lee "Bob" Stump".
  3. ^ a b c d e f Silverman, Amy (October 13, 1993), "The Stealth Congressman", Phoenix New Times, archived from the original on October 9, 2012, retrieved August 26, 2009
  4. ^ a b c "Former Ariz. congressman Bob Stump dies", USA Today, USA Today, June 22, 2003, retrieved March 5, 2010
  5. ^ a b c "Rep. Bob Stump of Arizona retiring", USA Today, April 26, 2002, retrieved March 5, 2010
  6. ^ Pace, David (November 6, 1997). "17 in House seek probe to impeach president". The Record. The Associated Press. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Hutcheson, Ron (November 17, 1997). "Some House Republicans can't wait for elections". Asheville Citizen-Times. Knight-Rider Newspapers.
  8. ^ Barkham, Patrick (November 18, 1998). "Clinton impeachment timeline". The Guardian. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  9. ^ "Roll Call 498 Roll Call 498, Bill Number: H. Res. 581, 105th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. October 8, 1998. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  10. ^ "Roll Call 546 Roll Call 546, Bill Number: H. Res. 611, 105th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. December 19, 1998. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  11. ^ "Roll Call 545 Roll Call 545, Bill Number: H. Res. 611, 105th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. December 19, 1998. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  12. ^ "Roll Call 544 Roll Call 544, Bill Number: H. Res. 611, 105th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. December 19, 1998. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  13. ^ Washington, U. S. Capitol Room H154; p:225-7000, DC 20515-6601 (December 19, 1998). "Roll Call 543 Roll Call 543, Bill Number: H. Res. 611, 105th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved March 6, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ AZ HCR 2043
  15. ^ a b "Bob Stump, 76, Ex-Congressman of Arizona", The New York Times, June 24, 2003, retrieved March 5, 2010
  16. ^ Public Law 107–314—December 2, 2002
  17. ^ ACU House Ratings 2002.
  18. ^ Green, Justin (October 28, 1996), "Claims Stump doesn't represent most of constituents", The Daily Courier, retrieved March 5, 2010
  19. ^ Hansen, Ronald J. "Rep. Paul Gosar takes a tax break on his 'primary' residence. It's not in his district". The Arizona Republic.
  20. ^ House Proceeding, June 5, 1998 (6:01:45 from start). From C-SPAN.
  21. ^ "Premature report of Bob Hope's demise". BBC News. June 6, 1998.
  22. ^ "Search | ADOT" (PDF).
  23. ^ Hawkins, Derek (January 30, 2018). "Morning Mix 'There is only one Bob Stump': Arizona politicians' families spar over same name". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
U.S. House of Representatives Preceded bySam Steiger Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona's 3rd congressional district 1977–2003 Succeeded byJohn Shadegg Political offices Preceded bySonny MontgomeryMississippi Chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee 1995–2001 Succeeded byChris SmithNew Jersey Preceded byFloyd SpenceSouth Carolina Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee 2001–2003 Succeeded byDuncan HunterCalifornia