|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from California's 10th district
January 3, 1949 - January 3, 1953
|Alfred J. Elliott|
|Member of the California State Assembly|
from the 39th district
January 3, 1943 - January 3, 1947
|Rodney L. Turner|
|W. E. James|
Thomas Harold Werdel
September 13, 1905
Emery, South Dakota, U.S.
|Died||September 30, 1966 (aged 61)|
Bakersfield, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of California at Berkeley|
UC Berkeley School of Law
Werdel was staunchly conservative and supported Senator Robert Taft's 1952 presidential bid and later served as T. Coleman Andrews vice presidential running mate.
Werdel was born in Emery, Hanson County, South Dakota, the son of Mary Laura Burke and Bernard Werdel. In 1912 Werdel moved with his parents to California and three years later in 1915 they settled in Kern County, California. He attended the public schools and Kern County Union High School. He was graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1930 and from the UC Berkeley School of Law in 1936. He was admitted to the bar in 1936 and commenced the practice of law in Bakersfield, California.
On June 24, 1942 he announced his candidacy for the thirty-ninth assembly district and won both the Democratic and Republican nominations leading him to run unopposed in the general election. Shortly before the election he was selected as Kern county's delegate to the California Republican state convention. After taking office Werdel was appointed as chairman of the judiciary committee and also aappointed as a member of the conservation, natural resources and planning, roads and highways, government efficiency and economy, and elections and reapportionment committees. The first legislation he proposed in the state assembly was a resolution requesting the federal government to grant funds to help in the construction of the Madera and Friant-Kern canals. Following the riot on Hollywood Black Friday in 1945 he served on a committee investigation into the union and accused them of being guilty of conspiracy. Werdel submitted a resolution to condemn Attorney General Robert W. Kenny that accused him of being an associate of subversive communist groups, but was overwhelming rejected by a vote of 57 to 19 in the assembly. In 1946 he announced that he would not seek reelection and that he would not run for state senate as he was quitting state politics. After leaving office he was appointed to the citizens advisory committee to committee on legislative constitutional revision in 1947.
In March 1948 he announced his intention to run for California's tenth congressional district seat and filed to run in both the Democratic and Republican primaries where he easily won the Republican primary and narrowly won the Democratic primary. During the campaign Governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Earl Warren showed support for Werdel. In the general election he was elected to the United States House of Representatives after easily defeating the Progressive nominee; he was one of the four Republican gains that year, and would serve in the Eighty-first and Eighty-second Congresses from 1949 to 1953.
In 1949 he accused union leaders, specifically from the National Education Association, AFL and CIO, of plotting to use an education aid bill created by Democrats to defeat Senator Robert A. Taft in Ohio's 1950 Senate election. During the 1952 Republican primaries Werdel announced that he would run a slate of seventy delegates in the California primary to lead a pro-Taft delegation to the Republican National Convention rather than a pro-Warren one and he attacked Warren for supporting socialized medicine. However, Governor Earl Warren, a favorite son candidate, once again controlled California's votes.
He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1952 to the Eighty-third Congress. He resumed the practice of law. In 1956, he was the running mate of T. Coleman Andrews as Vice Presidential candidate as an independent with multiple party labels. They won 107,929 votes (0.17%), doing best in Virginia, where they won 6.16% of the vote. During the 1960 and 1964 presidential elections he served as a campaign adviser to Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater.