Thomas Miller McClintock II (//; born July 10, 1956) is an American politician who is the U.S. Representative for California’s 4th congressional district, serving since 2009. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as an assemblyman and state senator. McClintock unsuccessfully ran for Governor of California in the California recall election and for Lieutenant Governor of California in the 2006 election.
Early life, education, and early political career
McClintock was born in White Plains, New York and graduated in 1978 from UCLA. Aged 23, he was elected Chairman of the Ventura County Republican Party, and served until 1981. He was chief of staff to State Senator Ed Davis from 1980 to 1982. From 1992 to 1994, he served as the director of the Center for the California Taxpayer. He was director of the Claremont Institute’s Golden State Center for Policy Studies from 1995–96.
California Assembly (1982–1992, 1996–2000)
McClintock ran for California’s 36th State Assembly district, based in Thousand Oaks, in 1982 at the age of 26 after redistricting. He defeated Democrat Harriet Kosmo Henson 56–44%. In 1984, he won re-election to a second term, defeating Tom Jolicoeur 72–28%. In 1986, he won re-election to a third term, defeating Frank Nekimken 73–25%. In 1988, he won re-election to a fourth term, defeating George Webb II 70–29%. In 1990, he won re-election to a fifth term, defeating Ginny Connell 59–36%.
After running for Congress in 1992 and for controller in 1994, he decided to run for the Assembly again in 1996. He ran for California’s 38th State Assembly district and defeated Democrat Jon Lauritzen 56–40% to win his sixth assembly term. In 1998, McClintock won re-election to a seventh term unopposed.
He authored California’s lethal injection use for California’s death penalty law. He also opposed tax increases and supported spending cuts. He was a strong proponent of abolishing the car tax.
California Senate (2000–2008)
In 2000, he decided to retire from the California Assembly to run for California’s 19th State Senate district. He ranked first in the May 7th open primary with 52% of the vote. In November, he defeated Democrat Daniel Gonzalez 58–42%. In 2004, he won re-election to a second term, defeating Paul Joseph Graber 61–39%.
In 2008, McClintock voted against Proposition 2, which prohibits confining calves, pigs and hens in small cages in which they cannot extend their limbs. “Farm animals are food, not friends”, he said in response to backlash to his no vote. He also cited concern about increased grocery bills.
McClintock has a long history of opposing various tax increases. In 2000 he was instrumental in proposing a two-thirds reduction in the vehicle license fee, or car tax. In 2003, he opposed then-Governor Gray Davis‘s attempt to rescind a rollback of a vehicle license fee. McClintock has also opposed deficit reduction efforts that would have increased taxes. He supported the Bureaucracy Reduction and Closure Commission and performance-based budgeting.
1994 Controller election
He ran for California State Controller after incumbent Democrat Gray Davis retired. He won the Republican primary, defeating John Morris, 61–39%. In the general election, he faced Kathleen Connell, former Special Assistant to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and Director of L.A. Housing Authority. Despite the fact that Connell outspent McClintock by a 3-to-1 margin, McClintock only lost by two percentage points, 48–46%, with three other candidates receiving the other 6% of the vote.
2002 Controller election
McClintock ran for State Controller again in 2002, facing Democratic nominee Steve Westly, an eBay executive. Westly outspent him 5-to-1. McClintock’s campaigns focused on increasing accountability for the state budget. The ads featured the character Angus McClintock, a fictional cousin and fellow Scottish American extolling Tom McClintock’s virtues of thriftiness and accountability with low-budget fifteen-second ads. He lost by a margin of just 0.2%, or 16,811 votes behind Westley, who won with a plurality of 45.3% of the vote. McClintock obtained 45.1% of the vote, while three other candidates obtained a combined 9.5% of the vote.
2003 recall gubernatorial election
In 2003, he ran for the recall election against incumbent Democrat Gray Davis. Republican and film actor Arnold Schwarzenegger won the election with 49% of the vote. Democratic Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante finished second with 31% of the vote, which was about 17 points behind Schwarzenegger. McClintock finished in third place with 14% of the vote, which was about 35 points behind Schwarzenegger. Together, Republicans Schwarzenegger and McClintock were supported by 5,363,778 Californians, or 62.1% of the vote. 132 other candidates obtained the remaining 6.4% of the vote.
McClintock performed the best in Stanislaus County, where he obtained 24% of the vote. He also cracked 20% or higher in several other counties: Mariposa (23%), Tuolumne (22%), Tehama (21%), Calaveras (20%), Madera (20%), Modoc (20%), Shasta (20%), San Joaquin (20%), and Ventura (20%).
2006 gubernatorial election
He ran for lieutenant governor in the 2006 elections. He defeated Tony Farmer in the Republican primary, 94–6%. In the general election, he lost to Democratic State Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi 49–45%.
U.S. House of Representatives
After redistricting, State Assemblyman McClintock decided to retire in order to challenge Democratic U.S. Congressman Anthony C. Beilenson in California’s 24th congressional district. He won the nine-candidate Republican primary with a plurality of 34% of the vote, beating second-place finisher Sang Korman by eleven percentage points. Beilenson defeated McClintock 56–39%.
On March 4, 2008, McClintock announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in California’s 4th congressional district, which is hundreds of miles away from the district McClintock represented in the state Senate. The district’s nine-term incumbent, fellow Republican John Doolittle, decided to retire. McClintock was unable to vote for himself in either the primary or the general election. Although he lived in Elk Grove, near Sacramento, for most of the year, his legal residence was in Thousand Oaks, within the borders of his state senate district. The California Constitution requires state senators to maintain their legal residence within the district they represent.
Upon McClintock’s entry into the race, fellow Republicans Rico Oller and Eric Egland withdrew from the Republican primary and endorsed McClintock. McClintock was endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus, Club for Growth, and U.S. Congressman Ron Paul. McClintock faced former U.S. Congressman Doug Ose, a moderate represented the neighboring 3rd District from 1999 to 2005. Ose lived outside the district and was painted as a carpetbagger and a liberal who had voted to raise taxes and who voted for earmarks. McClintock defeated Ose 54–39%.
The Democratic nominee was retired Air Force Lt. Col. , who ran an unexpectedly strong race against Doolittle in 2006. In March 2008, Ose’s campaign commercials criticized McClintock for receiving payments totaling over $300,000 in per diem living expenses during his time in the state senate even though he lived in Elk Grove for most of the year. McClintock maintained that the payments were justified because his legal residence was in Thousand Oaks, in his State Senate district. He stated, “Every legislator’s [Sacramento area] residence is close to the Capitol. My residential costs up here are much greater than the average legislator because my family is here.” However, Ose’s campaign commercials argued McClintock does not own or rent a home in the 19th district, but claimed his mother’s home in Thousand Oaks as his state senate district residence. These attacks prompted a response from McClintock’s wife, Lori, who said McClintock stays with his mother in order to better care for her after she fell ill and after the death of her husband. McClintock ran ads attacking Brown’s participation at a 2005 protest by Code Pink, an infamous anti-war group, and argued Brown supported gay marriage but not the troops in Iraq. He also portrayed Brown as a clone of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
By November 23, 2008, McClintock led Brown by 1,566 votes (0.4% of the vote), 184,190 to 182,624. Subsequent returns expanded the margin slightly with the last returns coming in from El Dorado County shortly after Thanksgiving. On December 1, 2008, McClintock declared victory and on December 3, 2008, Brown conceded the race. McClintock defeated Brown by a margin of 0.5%, or 1,800 votes. He prevailed by a 3,500-vote margin in Placer County, the largest county in the district. Brown won just three of the district’s nine counties: Sierra (49.8%), Plumas (47.9%), and Nevada (42.3%). Ultimately, McClintock won mainly on the strength of coattails from John McCain, who carried the 4th with 54 percent of the vote, his fifth-best total in the state.
McClintock was challenged in the Republican primary again, this time by Michael Babich. He easily defeated Babich 78–22%. On November 2, he easily won re-election to a second term, defeating businessman Clint Curtis 61–31%, winning all of the counties in the district.
Redistricting pushed the 4th well to the south. It now stretched from the Sacramento suburbs to the outer suburbs of Fresno. Only three counties remained from the old 4th: Nevada, Placer, and El Dorado. However, it is as strongly Republican as its predecessor.
The redrawn district cut out the 4th’s share of Sacramento County, including the portion of Elk Grove that includes McClintock’s home. Elk Grove is now entirely within the borders of the neighboring 7th District, represented by Democrat Ami Bera–thus making McClintock one of at least five congress(wo)men from California and only a few outside the country who live outside the district they represent. McClintock said that he intends to move his residence inside the redrawn 4th as soon as home prices rebound enough for him to sell his home in Elk Grove.
McClintock won re-election, finishing first in California’s “top two” primary, and defeating moderate Republican challenger, National Guard Major Art Moore in the general election, 60–40%.
McClintock again finished first in the primary and subsequently defeated Democrat Robert W. Derlet, a physician, environmentalist and retired UC Davis professor, in the general election, 63–37%.
McClintock defeated his Democratic challenger Jessica Morse in the general election, receiving 184,401 votes to her 156,253 (54.1% to 45.9%).
During the 112th Congress McClintock was one of 40 “staunch” members of the Republican Study Committee who frequently voted against Republican party leadership and vocally expressed displeasure with House bills. In 2011, McClintock voted against the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 as part of a controversial provision that allows the government and the military to indefinitely detain American citizens and others without trial. McClintock’s Chief of Staff, Igor Birman, was a candidate for Congress in California’s 7th congressional district in 2014.
McClintock voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. He voted against the first version of the bill, displeased with the removal of deductions related to medical expenses, student loan interest and casualty loss. Those three items were addressed in the final version of the bill which McClintock voted ‘yay’. McClintock claims the bill will “restore American workers to an internationally competitive position.” He has expressed concern regarding the bill’s impact on the budget deficit and anticipates that it will be addressed “by spending reforms this coming year.”
In 2017 McClintock voted against the repeal of Obamacare budget.
In 2017 McClintock called for special prosecutor Mueller against President Trump. McClintock felt that the firing of Comey justified the special prosecutor.
After President Trump pulled 1,000 U.S. troops from Kurdish-held territory on the Syrian border south of Turkey in 2019, a bipartisan resolution was passed in the House, 354-60, that condemned the president for abandoning those U.S. allies that would allow the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to reestablish and regroup its forces, and allow the Turks to attack the Kurds. McClintock was one of the two from the 53-member California congressional delegation to vote against it.
McClintock supported the Water Rights Protection Act, a bill that would prevent federal agencies from requiring certain entities to relinquish their water rights to the United States in order to use public lands. The bill was a reaction to the United States Forest Service‘s decision to pursue a “new regulation to demand that water rights be transferred to the federal government as a condition for obtaining permits needed to operate 121 ski resorts that cross over federal lands.” McClintock supported the bill, saying that the Forest Service’s regulation “illustrates an increasingly hostile attitude by this agency toward those who make productive use of our vast national forests, in this case by enhancing and attracting the tourism upon which our mountain communities depend.”
For his five terms in office, McClintock was the primary sponsor of three bills that were enacted into law. On June 14, 2013, McClintock introduced the bill To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to take certain Federal lands located in El Dorado County, California, into trust for the benefit of the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians (H.R. 2388; 113th Congress), a bill that would take specified federal land in El Dorado County, California, into trust for the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians. The other two bills were to rename Post Offices. (H.R. 3892 and H.R. 3319).
- Committee on the Judiciary
- Committee on Natural Resources
- Congressional Arts Caucus
- Republican Study Committee
- Tea Party Caucus
- American Sikh Congressional Caucus
- Congressional Constitution Caucus
- Congressional Western Caucus
- United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus
McClintock also opposes the Equality Act, a bill that would expand the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. He voted against the bill in 2019.
McClintock favors the legalization of cannabis. In 2016 he endorsed California’s Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. He was also one of two Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee to vote for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, a bill that removes cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.
McClintock is an advocate for states’ rights on the issue of cannabis policy. He introduced an amendment in 2015 to prohibit the Justice Department from spending funds to interfere with the implementation of state cannabis laws (regarding both medical and recreational use). Known as the McClintock–Polis amendment, it failed by a 206–222 vote. It was then reintroduced in 2019 as the Blumenauer–McClintock–Norton amendment and passed by a 267–165 vote.
McClintock does not believe climate change is caused by humans. He has said: “You see, it was me – and not Al Gore – who discovered the theory of Global Climate Change, and yet all you ever hear is Al Gore said this and Al Gore said that. My climate change discovery came in the fall of 1964, when Miss Conroy took our third grade class to the Museum of Natural History. It was there that we saw the panorama of dinosaurs tromping around the steamy swamps that are now part of Wyoming. That panorama was right next to the exhibit of the Wooly Mammoths foraging on glaciers that were also once the same part of Wyoming. And I thought to myself, ‘Gee, those dinosaurs are nifty.” And then I thought to myself, “Good God, the climate must have changed from time to time.'” 
|Democratic||Harriet Kosmo Henson||47,932||44.1|
|Republican||Tom McClintock (incumbent)||94,391||71.5|
|Republican||Tom McClintock (incumbent)||77,132||73.3|
|Libertarian||H. Bruce Driscoll||1,875||1.8|
|Republican||Tom McClintock (incumbent)||101,012||70.0|
|Democratic||George Webb II||39,539||27.4|
|Libertarian||H. Bruce Driscoll||3,782||2.6|
|California State Assembly District 36 Republican primary election, 1990|
|Republican||Tom McClintock (incumbent)||28,740||80.7|
|Republican||Tom McClintock (incumbent)||66,081||58.6|
|Libertarian||David A. Harner||6,371||5.6|
|California’s 26th Congressional Republican primary election, 1992|
|Democratic||Anthony C. Beilenson (incumbent)||141,742||55.5|
|Peace and Freedom||John Paul Linblad||13,690||5.4|
|California State Controller Republican primary election, 1994|
|Peace and Freedom||Elizabeth A. Nakano||182,671||2.2|
|American Independent||Nathan Johnson||152,228||1.8|
|California State Assembly District 38 Republican primary election, 1996|
|Natural Law||Virginia F. Neuman||6,021||4.7|
|Republican||Tom McClintock (incumbent)||78,417||100|
|California State Senate District 19 primary election, 2000|
|California State Controller Republican primary election, 2002|
|Natural Law||J. Carlos Aguirre||179,999||2.4|
|American Independent||Ernest Vance||96,019||1.3|
For a complete list of all candidates who participated in the 2003 recall election, see California gubernatorial recall election, 2003.
|Republican gain from Democratic|
|Republican||Tom McClintock (incumbent)||233,365||60.8|
|California State Lieutenant Gubernatorial Republican primary election, 2006|
|Green||Donna J. Warren||239,107||2.8|
|American Independent||Jim King||86,446||0.8|
|Peace and Freedom||Stewart A. Alexander||43,319||0.5|
|California’s 4th Congressional District Republican primary election, 2008|
|California’s 4th Congressional District Republican primary election, 2010|
|Republican||Tom McClintock (incumbent)||89,443||78.5|
|California’s 4th Congressional district primary election, 2014|
|Republican||Tom McClintock (incumbent)||80,999||56.2|
|Republican||Arthur “Art” Moore||32,855||22.8|
|California’s 4th Congressional district election, 2014|
|Republican||Tom McClintock (incumbent)||126,784||60.0|
|Republican||Arthur “Art” Moore||84,350||40.0|
|California’s 4th Congressional district primary election, 2016|
|Republican||Tom McClintock (incumbent)||135,626||61.5|
|California’s 4th Congressional district election, 2016|
|Republican||Tom McClintock (incumbent)||220,133||62.7|
|Democratic||Robert W. Derlet||130,845||37.3|
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- Appearances on C-SPAN
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