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Charles Ellsworth Goodell (March 16, 1926 – January 21, 1987) was a U.S. Representative and a Senator from New York, notable for coming into both offices under special circumstances following the deaths of his predecessors.
 Early life and education
Goodell was born in Jamestown, Chautauqua County, N.Y., on March 16, 1926. He attended the public schools of Jamestown and later was graduated from Williams College in 1948. During the Second World War he served in the United States Navy as a seaman second class 1944-1946, and in the United States Air Force as a first lieutenant during the Korean War 1952-1953.
Goodell was graduated from Yale Law School in 1951, and also received a graduate degree from Yale University Graduate School of Government in 1952; he was a teacher at Quinnipiac College in New Haven in 1952 as well. He was admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1951, the New York bar in 1954, and commenced practice in Jamestown, New York.
 Political career
Goodell was a congressional liaison assistant for the Department of Justice 1954-1955. He was elected in a special election on May 26, 1959, as a Republican to the Eighty-sixth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Daniel A. Reed. He was reelected to the Eighty-seventh Congress and to the three succeeding Congresses and served from May 26, 1959, until his resignation September 9, 1968. On September 10, 1968, he was appointed by the governor of New York, Nelson Rockefeller, as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill the unexpired term of the assassinated Senator Robert F. Kennedy and served from September 10, 1968, to January 3, 1971. Although he had been a conservative in the House, as a Senator he was nearly as liberal as New York's other Republican Senator, Jacob Javits.
In the Senate, Goodell authored and sponsored a large number of bills, including several to provide conservation and development aid to small towns and rural areas. Many small upstate New York communities without municipal sewage systems built them with the aid of federal matching funds provided by Goodell's legislation. Immediately after the 1969 Parrot's Beak invasion of Cambodia, Goodell took the very un-Republican, but strangely prescient, action of introducing a sense of the Senate resolution calling on the House of Representatives to impeach Preisdent Richard Nixon for illegally expanding the war and entering the sovereign territory of a neutral nation. Goodell looked the part of a respected law school professor – tall, balding in the center, tweed jacket, pipe clenched between his teeth, with a well-modulated baritone and possessing an exceptional grasp of facts coupled with the ability to explain complex topics in terms accessible to the average person. He was an imposing speaker and a fierce debater.
In 1970, the New York Republican Party was split deeply over the issue of the Conservatism of much of the grassroots support for the party versus the perceived liberalism of the party organization, leadership, and Governor Rockefeller himself. While Rockefeller's supporters were strong enough within the party and its regular organization to assure Goodell's receiving the party's nomination for another term, conservative activists left the party en masse to support someone farther to the right. Goodell was not discouraged. Running under the slogan "Senator Goodell — He's too good to lose", he received the nomination of the Liberal Party as well as that of the regular Republican organization, which was perfectly permissible under New York laws allowing for electoral fusion. Perhaps permissable, but possibly unethical, many printed ads and lamp-post signs urged voters to "Re-Elect Goodell," implying that Goodell had been elected to the Senate.
One television ad aired by Goodell's campaign just before election day in 1970 contrasted his record with his two opponents. A voice over the graphics said "New York voters face real choices in this year's Senate election. Congressman Richard Ottinger, the Democratic candidate, who has sponsored two pieces of legislation in six years in the House. Republican Senator Charles Goodell who has sponsored forty-four major pieces of legislation in twenty-two months in the Senate. Conservative nominee James Buckley who has an economic plan for the nineteenth century. Those are your choices on election day: the light weight; the heavy weight; and the dead weight."
Despite Rockefeller's support and that of the Liberals, Goodell split the liberal/progressive vote with the Democratic candidate, Richard Ottinger, and was defeated by Conservative Party nominee James L. Buckley for election to the seat, and actually finished a distant third, with 24.3% of the vote.
Goodell served as vice-chairman, with former Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton as chair, of President Gerald Ford's committee to draft rules for granting amnesty to Vietnam era draft evaders and deserters. Goodell resumed the practice of law and was a resident of Washington, D.C., until his death there on January 21, 1987.
- This article incorporates facts obtained from the public domain Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
Daniel A. Reed
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 43rd congressional district
District 43 eliminated after the 1960 census
Jessica M. Weis
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 38th congressional district
James F. Hastings
Robert F. Kennedy
|U.S. Senator (Class 1) from New York
James L. Buckley