Originally created 01/01/00

Strom Thurmond



The longest-serving member of Congress, who was first elected to the U.S. Senate from South Carolina on a write-in vote in 1954, is an Army veteran (17 decorations, medals and awards), former judge, ex-governor and states' rights presidential candidate (1948). The Democrat-turned Republican put his stamp on modern American politics as the architect of the "Southern strategy." Since the mid-1960s and accelerating in the '80s, his support of Republican presidential candidates changed the "solid Democratic South" to a more competitive region for the GOP.

The Edgefield, S.C., native made his mark on the nation's judicial system, and on upgrading our national security, through his chairmanships of the Senate Judiciary and Armed Services committees.