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Charles Bernard Hoeven (March 30, 1895 - November 9, 1980) held elective office for forty consecutive years. He was elected or re-elected eleven times to the U.S. House of Representatives to represent districts in northern Iowa. He served in Congress for 22 years (from January 3, 1943 to January 3, 1965), in the Seventy-eighth Congress and in ten succeeding Congresses.

Born in Hospers, Iowa, Hoeven attended the public schools and Alton (Iowa) High School.

During the First World War, Hoeven served in England and France as a sergeant in Company D, 350th Infantry, 88th Division, and with the Intelligence Service of the First Battalion.

He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa at Iowa City, in 1920 and a law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1922. He was admitted to the bar in 1922 and began to practice law in Alton, Iowa. He was elected as County Attorney of Sioux County, Iowa in 1924, and served in that position from 1925 to 1937. Then, he was elected to the Iowa Senate, where he served from 1937 to 1941, the last two years as president pro tempore.

In 1940, Hoeven ran for the Republican nomination in Iowa's 9th congressional district (which was then represented by Democrat Vincent Harrington of Sioux City). In the primary Hoeven finished a close second to Albert Swanson, and who in turn lost to Harrington in the general election by fewer than 2,500 votes out of over 130,000 cast. Newspapers and others speculated that, if Hoeven had won the primary, he would have defeated Harrington.[1] Thus, when reapportionment shifted most of the old 9th district into Iowa's 8th congressional district, Hoeven became an early front-runner for the 1942 Republican primary to run against Harrington. He won the primary, and a received a significant boost when Harrington resigned his House seat and the Democratic nomination two months before the 1942 general election to serve full-time in the U.S. Army Air Corps in England.[2] Democrats quickly nominated new candidates to serve out Harrington's 9th district term and to run against Hoeven in the 8th district, but Hoeven won the 8th district seat by over 19,000 votes.

Hoeven was then re-elected to Congress from that district an additional nine times, the last time in 1960 (when he defeated future U.S. District Court Judge Donald E. O'Brien). Following the 1960 census, the 8th district was eliminated, which in 1962 caused Hoeven to run instead for an open seat in Iowa's 6th congressional district. Hoeven was elected again. He chose not to run in 1964, the year in which 48 Republican seats (including Iowa's Sixth District) were lost to Democrats.

Hoeven also served as vice president of a savings bank.

In the Republican Party, Hoeven was a delegate to each Iowa State Republican Convention from 1925 to 1970, serving as chairman of the 1940 state convention. He was a delegate to the 1964 Republican National Convention. In 1942, he also served as temporary and permanent chairman of Iowa Republican State Judicial Convention.

After retiring from Congress, he resided in Orange City, Iowa, where he died on November 9, 1980. He was interred in Nassau Township Cemetery, in Alton, Iowa.


  1. ^ "One Definite Candidacy," The Fredericksburg News, 1941-09-11 at 4.
  2. ^ "Harrington Resigns from Congress," Sioux Center News, 1942-09-10, at 1.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Fred C. Gilchrist
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 8th congressional district

1943 – 1963
(obsolete district)
Succeeded by
district eliminated
Preceded by
Merwin Coad
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 6th congressional district

1963 – 1965
(obsolete district)
Succeeded by
Stanley L. Greigg

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.



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