(276) Sunday, July 24, 2016 – Of the 4,500 delegates, alternates and other luminaries meeting in Philadelphia this week at the Democrat National Convention, none have more history with presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton than Marjorie Margolies.
Unfortunately, not all that association with the Clintons has been good for Margolies, an elected delegate from a Philly suburb.
This story even begins with a downbeat.
Margolies, now 74, was a television journalist who thought she could do more good as an elected government official. In 1992 she ran successfully for a seat in Congress, as a Democrat. Her Main Lined Philadelphia district was the most Republican-leaning of any represented by a Democrat in Congress that year.
Bill Clinton headed the ticket that year, denying George Bush I a second term in the White House. Margolies sacrificed her very brief political career early in the session on behalf of Clinton.
During her hard fought campaign, Margolies pledged to not vote for new or higher taxes. Her resistance became a problem for the new president, desperately in need of new revenue with few Democrats supporting his goal. His first budget included a hike in taxes to stem the losses Bush had run-up in his four years, plus the last recorded raise in gasoline taxes for roads and bridges.
Margolies continued her opposition to the tax vote, even up to the day the vote was taken. President Clinton called her, pleading for her vote. They finally agreed that if the vote stood 217-217, meaning her vote was absolutely necessary, she would support his budget.
That’s exactly what happened. Margolies reportedly told Clinton “I think I am falling on a political sword on this one.” Despite significant support from the White House, she lost her re-election bid in 1994.
Hers became a text book case of a career ending vote, reported Huffington Post. ABC news called her favor to Clinton the “most celebrated political debt of the year.”
Later she attempted to re-connect at an even higher level. Bids for Lt. Governor and U.S. Senate failed to get off the ground. To eat, she headed a small charity that supported women for public office in third world countries.
She met and wed Ed Mezvinsky, a rare breed husband who achieved separate political careers in two different states. He had been a three-term Congressman from Iowa, but was finally defeated in a primary by Jim Leach in 1978.
After his defeat as an Iowa Congressman, Mezvinsky married Margolies and relocated to the Philly suburbs with his new bride. Connections he had made originally in Washington DC propelled him to becoming chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. No fluke, he held that position from 1981 to 1986. He was finally succeeded by Harris Wofford, a top functionary in Bob Casey Senior’s Holy Cross political machine.
In 1980 Ed had lost the Democrat nomination to U.S. Senate to Pete Flaherty. In 1988, Mezvinsky grabbed the Democrat nomination for state Attorney General but lost in the fall to Ernie Preate.
In 2001 Ed Mezvinsky was indicted for stock fraud, eventually pleading guilty and spending five years in prison. Supposedly, he had frequently dropped the Clinton name to attract investors. During that time, he and Marjorie were divorced.
In 2010, their son, Marc, married Chelsea Clinton. Marjorie and Hillary now share grandchildren members of the families.
Marjorie had one more political battle in her. This one was for her old seat in Congress in 2014. Despite heavy support from the Clintons, she finished a distant second among a field of four. For some time in the campaign, polls actually showed her leading.
Gearing up for a Presidential run, Hillary had made the decision that year to not campaign in the primaries for any Democrat running against any other Democrat.
But she made an exception for her in-law. Among other efforts she and her husband put forth, Hillary highlighted a $1,000-per-head fundraiser for Marjorie.
Bottom Line: This story is typical in Pennsylvania. Democrats are not known for protecting someone like Margolies after a critical tax vote. Despite a huge Democrat registration edge, the GOP has owned U.S. Senate, Congressional and Attorney General elected offices.