CLAREMORE (AP) — Theodore “Ted” Risenhoover, a two-term congressman and a former newspaper publisher, has died at a nursing home. He was 71.

Risenhoover, a Democrat, was elected to represent Oklahoma’s 2nd District in 1974 and 1976. He lost his bid for re-election to a third term in 1978 to fellow Democrat Mike Synar of Muskogee.

Risenhoover, who died on Sunday, was a former publisher of the Pictorial Press in Tahlequah, now called the Tahlequah Daily Press.

Joe Carter, former congressional aide and ex-director of the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore, said Risenhoover died after a lengthy illness.

“I visited him last week and he was in good spirits, but he knew he was going,” Carter said.

Carter, who will give the eulogy at services for the former congressman, said Risenhoover “had one of the best voting records for the common people we have had in Washington since Congressmen Tom Steed, Ed Edmondson and Speaker Carl Albert.

“I worked for him for four years and his attendance was excellent,” he said. “He had a low tolerance for pushy lobbyists, which was enjoyable.”

Risenhoover, who began his public career as a member of the Oklahoma Crime Commission, was divorced when he went to Washington and was defeated for a third term after stories circulated that he was a playboy congressman.

“He has taken a lot of bad raps in the newspapers,” Carter said. “He was a single guy and single congressmen attract lovely ladies and he was not an exception.”

Risenhoover was born in Haskell County on Nov. 3, 1934.

He graduated from Stigler High School, earned a degree in political science from Northeastern State University and spent eight years in the U.S. Air Force.

He was publisher of the newspaper from 1963 to 1980.

After losing his re-election bid, he worked at the Pentagon until 1981.

After returning to Oklahoma, he worked in a variety of positions ranging from environmental testing to funeral home work to school bus driving.

Graveside services for Risenhoover were scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at Fort Gibson National Cemetery.

Survivors include his daughter, Niki Risenhoover of Delmar, Del.; his son, William Jacob Risenhoover of Muskogee, and brothers Marvin Risenhoover of Tahlequah and Bill Risenhoover of Tulsa.

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