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Rudy Boschwitz
United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights

In office
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Richard S. Williamson
Succeeded by Eileen Donahoe
United States Senator
from Minnesota

In office
December 30, 1978 – January 3, 1991
Preceded by Wendell Anderson
Succeeded by Paul Wellstone
Personal details
Born Rudolph Ely Boschwitz
November 7, 1930(1930-11-07) (age 92)
Berlin, Weimar Germany
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ellen Boschwitz
Alma mater New York University (BS, JD)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1954–1955
Unit Signal Corps

Rudolph Ely Boschwitz (born November 7, 1930)[1] is an American politician and former Independent-Republican United States Senator from Minnesota. He served in the Senate from December 1978 to January 1991, in the 96th, 97th, 98th, 99th, 100th, and 101st congresses. In 1990 he was defeated by Paul Wellstone.

Early life and education

Boschwitz with Ronald Reagan and Gretchen Carlson in 1988

Boschwitz makes a point at the 61st Commission on Human Rights in 2005

Boschwitz was born November 7, 1930 in Berlin, Weimar Germany, the son of Lucy (née Dawidowicz) and Eli Boschwitz.[2] In 1933, when he was three years old, his Jewish family fled from Nazi Germany to the United States, settling in New Rochelle, New York, where he grew up. A graduate of The Pennington School, he attended Johns Hopkins University and graduated from the New York University Stern School of Business in 1950 and the New York University School of Law in 1953.


He was admitted to the New York State bar in 1954 and the Wisconsin bar in 1959. He served in the United States Army Signal Corps in 1954–55.[which?] He was the founder and chairman of a plywood and home improvement retailer, Plywood Minnesota, which later became Home Valu Interiors.[3]

Boschwitz was elected as an Independent-Republican to the United States Senate in November 1978 and was subsequently appointed on December 30, 1978, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Wendell Anderson, who was appointed to fill the seat after Walter Mondale was elected Vice President two years earlier. Boschwitz was well known in Minnesota for operating a "flavored milk" booth at the Minnesota State Fair.[4]

Boschwitz voted in favor of the bill establishing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday and the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 (as well as to override President Reagan's veto).[5][6][7] Boschwitz voted in favor of the nomination of Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Boschwitz is known for one of the more interesting campaign buttons in Minnesota politics; the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party alleged that Boschwitz's donors were "fat cats," so Boschwitz's campaign created a "skinny cat" campaign button to be worn by those who had donated less than $100 to his campaign.[8]

After his defeat in 1990 by Paul Wellstone, Boschwitz ran against Wellstone again in 1996 but lost.

In 1991 he traveled to Ethiopia as the emissary of President George H. W. Bush. The negotiations Boschwitz led in Ethiopia resulted in Operation Solomon. Over 14,000 Jewish people were airlifted from Ethiopia to Israel.[9] Operation Solomon took twice as many Beta Israel émigrés to Israel as Operation Moses and Operation Joshua combined.[10]

He was a top "Bush Pioneer" in 2000, fund-raising $388,193, and a "Bush Ranger" in 2004, raising at least $200,000 for George W. Bush's campaign fund in that election cycle.[11]

In 2005, Bush named Boschwitz as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which met at the U.N. in Geneva, Switzerland.

He also supported John McCain in the 2008 presidential election.[12] He appeared at a McCain Straight Talk Town Hall Meeting in Lakeville, MN on October 10, 2008.

He presently serves on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, is an AIPAC Board Member, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Electoral history

  • 1978 Race for U.S. Senate
  • 1984 Race for U.S. Senate
    • Rudy Boschwitz (R) (inc.), 58%
    • Joan Anderson Growe (DFL), 41%
  • 1990 Race for U.S. Senate
    • Paul Wellstone (DFL), 50%
    • Rudy Boschwitz (R) (inc.), 48%
  • 1996 Race for U.S. Senate
    • Paul Wellstone (DFL) (inc.), 50%
    • Rudy Boschwitz (R), 41%
    • Dean Barkley (Ref.), 7%


  1. "BOSCHWITZ, Rudolph Eli (Rudy) (1930-)". 
  2. "Boschwitz, Rudolph Eli - Dictionary definition of Boschwitz, Rudolph Eli - FREE online dictionary". 
  3. "水草域名网www.871518.com过期域名抢注-域名注册-域名交易一站式服务-致力于打造域名注册交易网全方位域名一站式服务平台。". Archived from the original on November 10, 2006. 
  4. "Boschwitz gets reprieve; will have milk at fair". Post-Bulletin Company, LLC. 
  5. "TO PASS H.R. 3706. (MOTION PASSED) SEE NOTE(S) 19. -- Senate Vote #293 -- Oct 19, 1983". 
  6. "TO PASS S 557, CIVIL RIGHTS RESTORATION ACT, A BILL ... -- Senate Vote #432 -- Jan 28, 1988". 
  7. "TO ADOPT, OVER THE PRESIDENT'S VETO OF S 557, CIVIL ... -- Senate Vote #487 -- Mar 22, 1988". 
  8. Museum, Hennepin History (27 February 2016). "The Skinny Cats of Minnesota Politics". 
  9. "New Ethiopian Regime Will Allow Remaining Jews to Leave, Says Envoy". 5 June 1991. 
  10. Rozen-Wheeler, Adam (22 July 2017). "Operations Moses, Joshua, and Solomon (1984-1991) •". 
  11. "". Archived from the original on October 4, 2007. 
  12. Scheck, Tom. "McCain's Minnesota bundlers". 

External links

  • Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
United States Senate
Preceded by
Wendell Anderson
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Minnesota
Served alongside: David Durenberger
Succeeded by
Paul Wellstone
Party political offices
Preceded by
Phil Hansen
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Minnesota
(Class 2)

1978, 1984, 1990, 1996
Succeeded by
Norm Coleman
Preceded by
John Heinz
Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee
Succeeded by
Don Nickles

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