Rep. Schmitz, a former Marine Corps jet fighter and helicopter pilot, served in the California Senate from 1964 to 1970 and from 1978 to 1982. In 1970, with the backing of prominent conservatives, he won a special election to succeed Rep. James B. Utt (R), who died in office. He served in the U.S. House until 1973.
Rep. Schmitz was known for his stridently conservative opinions, which often garnered negative press. His views won him the 1972 presidential nomination of the American Independent Party, an organization started by Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace, and he received more than a million votes. He quit the party in 1973.
Survivors include his wife of 47 years, Mary E. Suehr Schmitz of the District and Washington, Va.; [Mary Kay LeTourneau] and five other children, John Patrick Schmitz of McLean, former deputy counsel to President George Bush, Joseph E. Schmitz of Bethesda, Jerome T. Schmitz of Mesa, Ariz., Theresa Manion of Front Royal, Va., and Elizabeth Crnkovich of McLean; two brothers; three sisters; and 27 grandchildren. A son, Philip, died in 1973.
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