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James Mitchell Collins (April 29, 1916 – July 21, 1989) was a Republican who represented the Third Congressional District of Texas from 1969-1983. The district was based in Irving in Dallas County. Collins was born in Hallsville, Texas. He graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and from Harvard Business School, then entered the U.S. Army, serving as a Lieutenant in General Patton's Army during the Battle of the Bulge.

Collins was first elected to the U.S. House in a special election caused by the death of Rep. Joe R. Pool in 1968. In the general election that fall, he received 81,696 votes (59.4 percent) to 55,939 (40.6 percent) for Democrat Robert H. Hughes.

Running for the Senate, 1982

Collins, at sixty-six, relinquished his House seat in 1982 to challenge the entrenched Texas Democratic Senator Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Jr., then sixty-one. The conservative Collins won the Republican primary for senator by defeating an even more conservative rival, Walter Henry Mengden, Jr., (born 1925) of Houston. Mengden, as a member of the state senate, had been a strong legislative advocate of instituting the initiative and referendum in Texas. Collins polled 152,469 (58 percent) in the primary to Mengden's 91,780 (34.9 percent) A third contender received 7.1 percent of the vote.

Collins subsequently lost the general election to Bentsen (1921-2006) by a large margin. Bentsen polled 1,818,223 (58.6 percent) to Collins' 1,256,759 (40.5 percent). The 1982 elections ended the political careers of both Mengden and Collins, but they represented a triumph for Lloyd Bentsen, who led his party to victory in all statewide races that year.

Collins' son-in-law, Richard W. Fisher of Dallas, was an operative for the independent presidential campaign of H. Ross Perot in 1992. In 1994, five years after Collins' death, Fisher ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic nominee against freshman Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who emerged as Bentsen's long-time Senate successor.

Collins was succeeded in Congress by fellow Republican Steve Bartlett, who had defeated future U.S. Senator Hutchison in the GOP primary in 1982. Bartlett left Congress in 1991, when he was elected mayor of Dallas. Bartlett was succeeded by current Third District Republican Representative Sam Johnson, a popular former POW from the Vietnam War.

Collins is interred in Restland Memorial Park in Dallas.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joe R. Pool (D)
United States Representative for the 3rd Congressional District of Texas

James M. Collins (R)
1968–1983

Succeeded by
Steve Bartlett (R)
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