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George Douglas Perkins (February 29, 1840 - February 3, 1914) was a longtime newspaper editor, Republican U.S. Representative from Iowa's 11th congressional district in northwestern Iowa, and unsuccessful candidate for his party's nomination as Governor of Iowa.

Born in Holley, New York, Perkins attended the common schools. He was the son of John Dyer Perkins and Lucy Forsyth. He moved to Wisconsin and learned the printer's trade in Baraboo, in Sauk County. In 1860, he moved to Iowa, and established the Gazette in Cedar Falls. On August 12, 1862, after the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted as a private in Company B of the 31st Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment. His military service ended seven months later on January 12, 1863, when he returned to the Gazette. After 1866, he went to Chicago, Illinois, and was engaged as agent of the Northwestern Associated Press until 1869. He moved to Sioux City, Iowa, in 1869 and became editor and publisher of the Sioux City Journal. He was elected to one term in the Iowa Senate,serving from 1874 to 1876 before losing a re-election bid.[1] He was later chosen as Iowa's commissioner of immigration, serving from 1880 to 1882. He was appointed United States marshal for the northern district of Iowa by President Chester A. Arthur on January 29, 1883, and was removed by President Grover Cleveland in 1885.

In 1889, Perkins reportedly came close to receiving Governor William Larrabee's appointment to the U.S. Senate, to fill a vacancy that would have arisen if Senator William Boyd Allison had accepted President Benjamin Harrison's invitation to become his Secretary of the Treasury. According to the New York Times, Perkins' editorial support for Larrabee's crusade against the railroads had earned him the governor's choice for the spot.[2] Allison, however, refused the cabinet appointment and chose to stay in the Senate, foreclosing the need for a replacement.

In 1890, Perkins was one of three major candidates who challenged incumbent 11th district Congressman Isaac S. Struble for the Republican nomination. At the district convention, Struble consistently outpolled the other three until, on the 43rd ballot, his opponents united behind Perkins, giving Perkins the nomination.[3] In the worst midterm election for Republican candidates since the Civil War, Perkins was elected in November 1890 to the 52nd United States Congress.[4] He was re-elected to the three succeeding Congresses. In 1894, he was one of seven Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the retirement of James F. Wilson, but he finished well behind the eventual winner, John H. Gear.[5]

In February 1898, Lot Thomas, a state-court judge, challenged Perkins for the Republican nomination, and defeated him at the district nominating convention on the 217th ballot.[6] In all, Perkins served in Congress from March 4, 1891 to March 3, 1899.

Perkins returned to Sioux City and to the Journal. In 1906, he unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Republican Governor Albert B. Cummins for the Republican nomination for governor.[7] He served as delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1876, 1880, 1888, 1908, and 1912.

He died in Sioux City on February 3, 1914. He was interred in Floyd Cemetery.


  1. ^ Brigham, Johnson. Iowa: Its History and Its Foremost Citizens, pp. 666 (S.J. Clarke, 1918, Iowa History Project): accessed April 12, 2009.
  2. ^ "Fight for the Iowa Senatorship," New York Times, 1894-01-01 at p. 2.
  3. ^ "Perkins Nominated," Hawarden Independent, 1890-07-10 at p. 1.
  4. ^ "Reed's Rule is Ended," New York Times, 1890-11-05 at p.1.
  5. ^ Dan Elbert Clark, "History of Senatorial Elections in Iowa," pp. 227-35 (Iowa 1913).
  6. ^ "Geo. D. Perkins Defeated," Sioux County Bee, 1898-06-24 at p. 8.
  7. ^ "Cummins Renominated; a Stand-patter Now," New York Times, 1906-08-02, at p. 1.

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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