Rep. Ted Weiss, D-N.Y., an ardent liberal who crusaded in Congress for social programs, human rights and against increased military spending, died Monday of heart failure, his office announced. He was 64.
Weiss died early Monday at a hospital in New York, according to a brief statement issued by his congressional office.Weiss had a history of heart trouble. He underwent cardiac bypass surgery in 1982 and had a quadruple bypass operation in 1986 after collapsing at a banquet on Capitol Hill.
The Democrat's base was the colorful district on Manhattan's West Side once represented by Bella Abzug, and Weiss proved to be nearly as strident and single-minded in his pursuit of liberal causes as his predecessor.
He was consistently rewarded with 100 percent ratings from the liberal political interest group Americans for Democratic Action and zero ratings from the Americans for Constitutional Action, its conservative counterpart.
Weiss' unswerving liberal voting record has virtually guaranteed his re-election since 1976, when Weiss finally realized his longtime ambition of becoming a congressman.
He was favored again in Tuesday's Democratic primary, and his name will remain on the ballot, said William Harrison, a spokesman for the State Board of Elections. If Weiss wins, Harrison said the state Democratic committee will have to select an alternate candidate, who would appear on the general election ballot in November.
His death means at least nine members of the state's 31-member congressional delegation will not be in Congress next year.