After twenty years of hard work and informal leadership in the House of Representatives, John Rhodes was elected Minority Leader by acclamation on December 7, 1973. He succeeded Gerald Ford, who had been chosen by President Richard Nixon to be Vice President in the wake of Spiro Agnew's resignation (Agnew came under investigation by the U.S. Attorney in Baltimore for allegedly receiving contractor payoffs when he has governor of Maryland) on October 10, 1973.
John Rhodes became Minority Leader at a very difficult time for both the Republican Party and the United States. Political pundits had declared the Republican Party dead following the landslide Democratic Presidential victory in 1964, and although Richard Nixon had been reelected to a second term by a large majority in 1972, the country was about to be plunged into the Watergate scandal that followed the break-in at the Democratic Party National Committee headquarters on June 17, 1972.
Because John Rhodes assumed the Minority Leadership in the midst of the Watergate scandal (which consumed the first nine months of his tenure), we have chosen to separate this part of his career into two sections: Minority Leader and Minority Leader: Post Watergate. A third section, The Watergate Era, deals with Rhodes's extensive involvement in bringing the Watergate debacle to a calm and orderly conclusion. Please choose a destination below: