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John A. O'Connell


Picture of John A. O'Connell
Oakland Tribune (via CDNC)
Date Party Office Votes Result
11-02-1954 Democratic AD-23 21511 Win
11-06-1956 Democratic AD-23 34660 Win
11-04-1958 Democratic AD-23 34987 Win
11-08-1960 Democratic AD-23 36220 Win
11-06-1962 Democratic CD-06 74429 Loss

Candidate Biography:

John A. O'Connell
Born: June 13, 1919 in Oakland, CA
Married: Barbara Kelley (in 1941), Patricia Moore O'Connell
Children: Sally, Christine, and John
Military Service: ARMY (WWII)
Died: March 4, 2000 in San Francisco, CA

1954: Placed on General Election Ballot by Central Committee after death of Incumbent (AD-23)
1960: Alternate Delegate, Democratic National Convention
1963-1966: Member, California State Industrial Accident Commission
1968: Primary Candidate for SD-09 (Lost)

  • PLACENAME: The John O'Connell High School of Technology in San Francisco is named after O'Connell.
  • DISRUPTION: O'Connell was accused of having spoken to (and incited) a group of college students who then rioted and disrupted a hearing of the US House Committee on UnAmerican Activities on May 13, 1960 in San Francisco. In March 1964, O'Connell denied that he spoke to the group, saying "When the riots occured I was in my office." (Oakland Tribune) News coverage of the event indicated that O'Connell spoke to the group that day; "University of California and San Francisco State college students plan a protest rally Thursday noon. State Assemblyman John A. O'Connell, San Francisco Democrat, who will speak at the rally, accused the committee of witch hunting." (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
  • CONFIRMATION: O'Connell was confirmed by the State Senate to the Industrial Accident Commission by a vote of 21-10 (the minimum number of votes required) 
  • Supreme Court Decision: In May 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a law authored by John A. O'Connell, AB 874 (1961), was unconstitutional. The law, which required that “loiterers” and “wanderers” provide identification to police officers, was found to be so vague that it violated the Fourteenth Amendment. (Kolender v. Lawson, 461 U.S. 352)

Source: California Blue Book (1958)
Source: "O'Connell Under Senate Scrutiny" Oakland Tribune, Volume 177, Number 206, 25 July 1963
Source: "Student Riots Role Denied by O'Connell" Oakland Tribune, Volume 178, Number 87, 27 March 1964
Source: "UnAmerican Activities Hearing Hit" Santa Cruz Sentinel, Volume 104, Number 112, 11 May 1960