This article is about the American politician. For the Swedish clarinetist, see Martin Fröst. For the 2007 film, see The Inner Life of Martin Frost.

Jonas Martin Frost III (born January 1, 1942) is an American politician, who was the Democratic representative to the U.S. House of Representatives for Texas's 24th congressional district from 1979 to 2005.

Personal life

Born in Glendale, California, Frost grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. He graduated in 1964 with a bachelor's degrees in journalism and history from the University of Missouri. As a student, Frost was editor of The Maneater, was a member of Zeta Beta Tau, and was tapped by Omicron Delta Kappa and QEBH.[2] He later received his Juris Doctor degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1970.

Before going to law school Frost worked as a newspaper reporter. Following his graduation he worked as a law clerk for Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes of the Northern District of Texas and began a private practice.

Political career

Frost ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the House in 1974. He tried again successfully in 1978, becoming the first Jewish U.S. congressman from Texas. Frost was reelected 12 times without serious opposition. In 1980, he defeated an African American Republican opponent, Clay Smothers.[3]

On October 10, 2002, Martin Frost was among the 81 House Democrats who voted in favor of authorizing the invasion of Iraq.[4]

He served two terms as the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus from 1999 to 2003, the number three post in the Democrats' House leadership after the minority leader and minority whip. As Democratic Caucus Chair, Frost was often at odds with another prominent Dallas-area Congressman, Dick Armey, who was the Republican House Majority Leader.[5]

Due to term limits as Democratic Caucus Chair, Frost made a bid for Minority Leader after Dick Gephardt resigned in the wake of losing four seats in the 2002 Congressional midterm elections, but Frost dropped out of the race and supported eventual winner Nancy Pelosi. Frost is generally considered a centrist while Pelosi is liberal.

Frost was the ranking member of the House Rules Committee during his last term in the House.[6]

Due to his strong fundraising ability for fellow Democrats,[7] and the fact that he led the 1991 redistricting in Texas, he was one of the targets of a controversial mid-decade redistricting engineered by then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.[8] His district, which included portions of Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington, was redrawn to be much more Republican. Its portions of Fort Worth and Arlington were replaced with wealthier and more Republican territory around Dallas. While Al Gore won the old 24th fairly handily in 2000, the new 24th would have given George W. Bush a staggering 68 percent of the vote in that election. It was an open secret that the new 24th was redrawn for State Representative Kenny Marchant. Moreover, Frost's home in Arlington was shifted into the heavily Republican 6th District, represented by 10-term incumbent Joe Barton. Frost decided to seek re-election in the newly redrawn 32nd District, which included a considerable amount of territory that he had represented from 1979 until 1993. He lost by 10 points to Republican Pete Sessions. Since Ralph Hall's party switch earlier in 2004, Frost had been the only white Democrat to represent a significant portion of the Metroplex.


In 2005, Frost was a candidate for chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He dropped out of the race on February 1. On February 15, Frost was hired by Fox News as a political commentator.

He is now an attorney at Polsinelli [9] and president of America Votes.[10]

In a July 2011 op-ed regarding the debt ceiling crisis, Frost wrote, "We now have a group of U.S. politicians seeking political purity, who seem to have much in common with the Taliban. They are tea party members."[11]


  1. ^ Frost, Martin, Jewish pols, players emerging, Politico, 15 May 2009. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
  2. ^ The Savitar, University of Missouri Yearbook (1964), p. 387, caption to image of Martin Frost. Retrieved from University of Missouri Digital Library 8 December 2011.
  3. ^ Arena Profile: Martin Frost, Politico 
  4. ^ Martin Frost on War & Peace, 
  5. ^ The Honorable Martin Frost, Worldwide Speakers Group 
  6. ^ Martin Frost, Polsinelli Shughart PC 
  7. ^ Barack Obama's fundraising unrivaled, says Martin Frost, Politico 
  8. ^ DeLay Trial To Look At 2003 Texas Redistricting 
  9. ^ Attorney Bio
  10. ^ Cillizza, Chris; Murray, Shailagh (June 3, 2007). "Former Congressman to Head Efforts to Bring Liberals to the Polls". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  11. ^ Frost, Martin (29 July 2011). "The tea party Taliban". Politico. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Dale Milford
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 24th congressional district

Succeeded by
Kenny Marchant
Party political offices
Preceded by
Vic Fazio
Chairman of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Succeeded by
Patrick Kennedy
Rhode Island
Chairman of House Democratic Caucus
Succeeded by
Bob Menendez
New Jersey