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Former Congressman Lionel Van Deerlin Dies

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Aired 4/19/09

A memorial service will be held early next month for long time San Diego newsman and former Congressman Lionel Van Deerlin. 

Van Deerlin died Saturday at his home in Point Loma. He was 93.

He'd already had a distinguished career in newspapers and television before he was elected to Congress in 1962. That was Van Deerlin's third try for a House seat. And he recalled in an interview last fall, the victory was a squeaker. 

Van Deerlin:  "Of all 38 Congressmen elected that year, the only one who had made it with a narrower margin of victory than I had been dead for two weeks on election day. As a matter of fact, when Mike Aguirre was elected City Attorney, I was able to congratulate him on winning with a margin of victory one third as great as mine had been when I barely got over 50-percent." 

Van Deerlin, who was a Democrat, served nine terms in Congress before being unseated by a little known Republican named Duncan Hunter in 1980. He returned to San Diego and continued writing about politics for the Union Tribune. His last column was published last week.

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