Robert J. Thompson

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Robert J. Thompson
Robert J Thompson portrait.jpg
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate
from the 19th district
In office
December 4, 1995[1] – January 28, 2006
Preceded byEarl Baker
Succeeded byAndy Dinniman
Member of the Chester County
Board of Commissioners
In office
January 7, 1980 – January 6, 1986
Preceded byRobert Strebl
Succeeded byIrene Brooks
Personal details
BornNovember 30, 1937
West Chester, Pennsylvania
DiedJanuary 28, 2006(2006-01-28) (aged 68)
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Nancy B.
Children3 children
ResidenceWest Goshen Township, Pennsylvania
Alma materPenn State University
OccupationJournalist, Politician

Robert J. Thompson (November 30, 1937 – January 28, 2006) was a Republican member of the Pennsylvania State Senate.

Early life[edit]

A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Thompson earned a degree in journalism from Penn State University in 1959.[2] He then worked as a photographer for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, published in-house magazines for Electric Hose & Rubber Corp. in Wilmington and Lukens Steel Company, and Fidelity Bank.[3] He was the founding director of the Chester County Chamber of Commerce.[3]

Political career[edit]

Thompson served on the West Goshen Township Board of Supervisors from 1970 through 1976.[2] In 1979, he was elected to the Chester County, Pennsylvania Board of Commissioners, a position he held until 1986.[2]

State Senate elections[edit]

He was first elected to represent the 19th senatorial district in the Pennsylvania Senate in a special election held on November 7, 1995.[4][5] The special election was triggered by the August resignation of incumbent Republican Earl Baker, with whom Thompson had previously served on the Chester County Board of Commissioners. Thompson defeated Democrat Sara Nichols (along with Libertarian candidate Thomas McGrady, Jr.) by a relatively narrow margin. Thompson's margin of victory was considered stunningly narrow by many political observers.[6]

Pennsylvania Senate, District 19: November 7, 1995 Special Election[4][5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Bob Thompson 20,004 51.3
Democratic Sara Nichols 16,910 43.4
Libertarian Thomas McGrady, Jr. 2,073 .05
Republican hold Swing

After filing paperwork to challenge Thompson once again the following year, this time for a full term, Nichols withdrew from the race and moved out of the area.[7] By virtue of her stunningly strong showing in the special election, many observers expected the rematch to be close, but Nichols' withdrawal and move was prompted by her husband's acceptance of a position in the Los Angeles area.[6] Democrats selected Downingtown area native and inventory planner Thomas Bosak as Nichols' replacement on the ballot.[8] Thompson went on to defeat Bosak handily.

Thompson easily won election to a second full term in 2000, once again defeating Bosak by a wide margin.[9] He was re-elected once again in 2004, this time without any Democratic opposition.[10]

Later political career[edit]

Thompson was elected Majority Appropriations Chairman by the Senate Republican Caucus in 2001.[4] In 2003, The Pennsylvania Report named him to "The Pennsylvania Report Power 75" list of influential figures in Pennsylvania politics.[11]


He died on January 28, 2006 from pulmonary fibrosis at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania[3] The ensuing special election triggered by his death was won by Democrat Andy Dinniman, who defeated Republican Carol Aichele in a stunning upset, becoming the first Democrat elected to represent Chester County in the state Senate since 1890.[12]


  1. ^ Cox, Harold (2004). "Pennsylvania Senate - 1995-1996" (PDF). Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University.
  2. ^ a b c d "Bio". Official Pennsylvania Republican Caucus Biography. Pennsylvania Senate Republican Caucus. Archived from the original on 2005-09-09.
  3. ^ a b c Downey, Sally A. (January 31, 2006). "State Sen. Robert Thompson; had long public service career". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  4. ^ a b c "Robert J. Thompson (R)". Official Pennsylvania Senate Profile. Pennsylvania Senate. Archived from the original on 2006-02-11.
  5. ^ a b "SESSION OF 1995 - 179TH OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY - No. 67" (PDF). Legislative Journal. Pennsylvania House of Representatives. December 4, 1995.
  6. ^ a b The Philadelphia Inquirer
  7. ^ The Philadelphia Inquirer
  8. ^ The Philadelphia Inquirer
  9. ^ "2000 General Election". Commonwealth of PA - Elections Information. Pennsylvania Department of State. 2000. Archived from the original on 2008-11-27.
  10. ^ "2004 General Election". Commonwealth of PA - Elections Information. Pennsylvania Department of State. 2004. Archived from the original on 2008-11-27.
  11. ^ "The PA Report "Power 75" List" (PDF). Pennsylvania Report. Capital Growth, Inc. January 31, 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 20, 2006.
  12. ^ Nancy Petersen, Chesco Senate Election Surprise, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 05-18-2006

External links[edit]