Stephen Zetterberg, Nixon Rival from 1946, Dies at 92

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Stephen I. Zetterberg, a California Democrat whose loss to Richard M. Nixon in a primary race for Congress in 1948 helped propel Nixon’s early career, died on Jan. 30 in Claremont, Calif. He was 92.

The cause was heart failure, his son Charles said.

Nixon, an incumbent in the House of Representatives who had no Republican primary opponent, ran against Mr. Zetterberg in the Democratic primary, as California law then permitted. By defeating him, Nixon effectively won re-election to the seat.

Nixon won the primary after presenting himself as a Democrat to Democratic voters, sending out postcards to them with the salutation “Fellow Democrats.” Elsewhere he played down his party affiliation by advertising himself as simply “Your Congressman.” The tactics contributed to his later reputation for trickiness.

On the primary ballot, Nixon headed the list of Democratic candidates and was identified as “Congressman.”

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