Cleveland Monroe ‘‘Cleve’’ Bailey (July 15, 1886-July 13, 1965) represented West Virginia’s third congressional district for eight terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1945–47 and 1949–63. Born on a farm in Pleasants County, Bailey was educated at West Liberty State College (now West Liberty University) and at Geneva College in Pennsylvania. Before entering public service, he was a teacher and school administrator in Clarksburg, Clarksburg city councilman, and Associated Press editor for the Clarksburg Exponent.
Bailey was appointed as the assistant state auditor in 1933. He served until Governor Neely appointed him director of the budget in 1941, and he remained in the latter post until entering Congress. A Democrat, Bailey first won a seat in Congress by defeating Edward G. Rohrbough, a Republican from Glenville, in 1944. Rohrbough came back to defeat him in 1946, but Bailey won again in 1948 and in the next six contests. A New Deal liberal, Bailey’s main focus as a congressman was protection of West Virginia industries and workers, especially from foreign competition, and increased federal support of education. Following his departure from Congress, a school in Oklahoma was named in Bailey’s honor.
The old third district included West Virginia’s central counties, from Harrison south to Fayette. Redistricting after the 1960 Census put Bailey’s Clarksburg hometown in the first district, and Bailey was defeated by Congressman Arch Moore in 1962. Bailey died in Charleston. There is a bust of him in the state capitol in Charleston, the only congressman to be so honored.
This Article was written by Michael K. Wilson
Last Revised on September 25, 2012
Wilson, Michael K. "Cleveland M. Bailey: Mountaineer Congressman." M.A. final project, Marshall University Graduate College, 1999.