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James Morhard Survived the Plane Crash that Killed Sen. Ted Stevens

Deputy Senate SAA James W. Morhard had a harrowing near-death experience in 2010, as a passenger on then-Sen. Ted Stevens’ plane. He narrowly survived a crash in the mountains of Alaska that killed the Republican senator, his former boss, and four others.

McConnell and his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, visited Morhard, a longtime Senate aide, in the hospital before when they arrived for Stevens’ funeral. “As much as you know the outer persona, there is a warmness to this man that people don’t see,” Morhard said, recalling how the couple sat with him and held his hand.

“You never forget,” he said. “And, you know, I hope I can give back — as Frank does, too — to this place and also [to] the majority leader.”

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