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Guy Mark Gillette (February 3, 1879 – March 3, 1973) was a Democratic U.S. Representative and Senator from Iowa. In the U.S. Senate, Gillette was elected, re-elected, defeated, elected again, and defeated again.

Born in Cherokee, Iowa, he attended public school and graduated from Drake University Law School in Des Moines in 1900. He was admitted to the bar in 1900 and commenced practice in Cherokee. During the Spanish-American War, he served as a sergeant in the Fifty-second Iowa Regiment in the United States Army, but never saw combat.[1] He volunteered to fight against the British in Africa in the Boer War, but was turned down.[1]

Returning to Iowa, he engaged in agricultural pursuits and was the city attorney of Cherokee in 1906-1907. He became the prosecuting attorney of Cherokee County from 1907-1909 and a member of the Iowa State Senate from 1912 to 1916.

During the First World War, he served as a captain in the United States Army.

In 1932, in the Roosevelt landslide, he was elected as a Democrat to represent Iowa's 9th congressional district. He was re-elected in 1934, and served nearly all of that term. He resigned upon his election to the United States Senate on November 3, 1936 to serve out the remainder of the term of Senator Richard Louis Murphy, who had died in an auto accident. Nearly two years remained in Murphy's term, which would end January 3, 1939.

Gillette was targeted for replacement in 1938 by the Roosevelt Administration because of Gillette's vote against Roosevelt's plan to expand the Supreme Court and other positions.[2] He nevertheless defeated Roosevelt's choice for the Democratic nomination, Otha D. Wearin, and was elected to his first full Senate term. During that term, his conflicts with the Roosevelt Administration expanded, on topics as diverse as the terms of the Neutrality Act,[3], and choices for judgeships.[4] Like several others who had opposed Roosevelt's efforts to aid Great Britain before Pearl Harbor but faced wartime elections, Gillette lost his next re-election bid, in 1944, to Iowa Governor and Republican Bourke B. Hickenlooper.[5]

After his first defeat, Gillette was the chairman of the Surplus Property Board in 1945, president of the American League for a Free Palestine from 1945 to 1948.

He launched a political comeback in 1948, defeating former governor and U.S. Senator George A. Wilson's attempt to seek re-election to Iowa's other U.S. Senate seat. Gillette served until January 3, 1955, when his bid for re-election was thwarted when he was unseated by U.S. Representative Thomas E. Martin of Iowa City. His defeat was considered an upset because it conflicted with earlier polls.[6] For the last time, it left every Iowa seat in Congress in Republican hands.

Following his second defeat, Gillette was a counsel with the Senate Post Office and Civil Service Committee (1955-1956) and the Senate Judiciary Committee (1956-1961).

He retired and resided in Cherokee, Iowa until his death on March 3, 1973, and was interred in Oak Knoll Cemetery.


  1. ^ a b Oral History of Stewart McClure, Part 1 (Service on Gillette Senate Staff), at 5.
  2. ^ "Iowa's Microcosm," Time Magazine, 1938-06-13.
  3. ^ "Rebels and Ripsnorters," Time Magazine, 1939-7-24.
  4. ^ "SEC seat warming," Time Magazine, 1941-04-21.
  5. ^ "The New Senate," Time Magazine, 1944-11-13.
  6. ^ "Gillette is Upset, GOP wins State," Waterloo Daily Courier, 1954-11-03, at 1-2.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles E. Swanson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 9th congressional district

Succeeded by
Vincent F. Harrington
United States Senate
Preceded by
Richard L. Murphy
United States Senator (Class 3) from Iowa
Served alongside: Lester J. Dickinson,Clyde L. Herring,George A. Wilson
Succeeded by
Bourke B. Hickenlooper
Preceded by
George A. Wilson
United States Senator (Class 2) from Iowa
Served alongside: Bourke B. Hickenlooper
Succeeded by
Thomas E. Martin




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