Gary Condit Biography

Mayor, U.S. Representative (1948–)
Gary Condit served in the U.S. House of Representatives and is considered a conservative Democrat. He was inconclusively linked to the disappearance of federal intern Chandra Levy.


Gary Condit was born on April 21, 1948, in Salina, Oklahoma. He majored in political science at California State University. In 1982, he ran for the California State Assembly and in 1989 was elected to fill a vacant seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2001, he was linked to the disappearance of federal intern Chandra Levy. He ran for re-election in 2002, but lost by a landslide.

Early Life and Career

Born on April 21, 1948, in Salina, Oklahoma, the son of a Baptist minister, Gary Adrian Condit moved to Ceres, California, at the age of 19. He attended Modesto Junior College before enrolling at California State University at Stanislaus, where he majored in political science. In 1966, Condit married his high school sweetheart, Carolyn Berry, with whom he has two children, Cadee and Chad.

In 1972, upon his graduation, Gary Condit launched his political career when he was elected to the Ceres City Council. Considered a conservative Democrat, he was elected mayor of Ceres in 1974 and served until 1976, at which time he began a six-year term on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors.

U.S. House of Representatives

In 1982, Condit successfully ran for the California State Assembly. In 1989, Republican Tony Coehlo resigned his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives after it was discovered that he failed to report a $50,000 loan to finance junk bonds. In a special election held to fill Coehlo's vacated seat, Condit defeated Clare Berryhill with 57 percent of the vote. Popular with his constituents, Condit was reelected to a full term the following year and has since served with each succeeding Congress.

In 1993, Condit angered the Democratic Party when he opposed seven of President Bill Clinton's budget initiatives. A strong advocate for the elimination of unfunded federal mandates, one of his major accomplishments was the enactment of the 1994 Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. He also staunchly supported a consumer advocacy bill designed to protect consumers from deceptive mailings and sweepstakes.

In 1995, Condit became a founding member of the Blue Dogs Coalition'a group of moderate-to-conservative Democrats whose agenda includes protection of the Social Security Trust Fund, a balanced budget, as well as campaign finance and welfare reform.

Murder of Chandra Levy

More recently, in April 2001, Condit was linked to the disappearance of 24-year-old federal intern Chandra Levy. As speculation of an affair surfaced, the Levy case quickly became fodder for the press. Although Condit has consistently denied any knowledge of Levy's whereabouts, he was chastised for his failure to be forthcoming and accused of hindering the police investigations.

In August 2001, during a highly publicized television interview with journalist Connie Chung, Condit attempted to set the record straight. However, he was later criticized for his evasive answers. In 2002, as the general public turned their attention to the war on terrorism, Condit quietly announced that he would run for re-election, despite the lack of support from his party. He lost by a landslide to Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza.

In May 2002, remains identified as Levy's were found in a park in the Washington, D.C. area, reigniting suspicions of Condit's involvement in the affair. In 2010, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador named Ingmar Guandique was ultimately convicted in the killing Chandra Levy and sentenced to 60 years in prison. At the time of his sentencing, Guandique stated that he had nothing to do with Levy's death. In early 2013, Guandique's lawyers announced their intention to file a motion for a new trial in the Levy case, and stated that Guandique's prosecution was "predicated on a lie."

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