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Fritz Hollings

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Fritz Hollings
United States Senator
from South Carolina
In office
November 9, 1966 – January 3, 2005
Preceded byDonald Russell
Succeeded byJim DeMint
106th Governor of South Carolina
In office
January 20, 1959 – January 15, 1963
LieutenantBurnet R. Maybank Jr.
Preceded byGeorge Timmerman
Succeeded byDonald Russell
77th Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
In office
January 18, 1955 – January 20, 1959
GovernorGeorge Timmerman
Preceded byGeorge Timmerman
Succeeded byBurnet Maybank
Personal details
Ernest Frederick Hollings

(1922-01-01)January 1, 1922
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
DiedApril 6, 2019(2019-04-06) (aged 97)
Isle of Palms, South Carolina, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Martha Salley
(m. 1946; div. 1971)

Rita Liddy
(m. 1971; died 2012)
EducationThe Citadel (BS)
University of South Carolina, Columbia (LLB)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1942–1945
Battles/warsWorld War II

Ernest Frederick "Fritz" Hollings (January 1, 1922 – April 6, 2019) was an American politician. Hollings served as a Democratic United States Senator from South Carolina from 1966 to 2005, as well as the 106th Governor of South Carolina (1959–1963) and the 77th Lieutenant Governor (1955–1959). He served 38 years and 55 days in the Senate, which makes him the 8th-longest-serving Senator in history.

Following the death of John Glenn in December 2016, Hollings became the oldest living former United States senator.

Early life

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Hollings was born on January 1, 1922 in Charleston, South Carolina.[1] He studied at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina and at the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Governor of South Carolina

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As governor of South Carolina from January 20, 1959 to January 15, 1963, Hollings worked to improve the state's educational system, helping to bring more industry and employment opportunities to the state. His term in office saw the establishment of the state's technical education system and its educational television network. He also called for and achieved significant increases in teachers' salaries, bringing them closer to the regional average. At the 1961 Governor's Conference on Business, Industry, Education and Agriculture in Columbia, S.C., he declared, "Today, in our complex society, education is the cornerstone upon which economic development must be built--and prosperity assured."[2]

He tried to win the Democratic nomination for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1962 but lost to incumbent Olin D. Johnston.

Hollings in c. 2005

For 36 years (until January 2003), he served alongside Republican Strom Thurmond, making them the longest-serving Senate duo ever. This made him the longest-serving junior senator ever, even though he had more seniority than all but a few of his colleagues. Thurmond and Hollings generally had a good relationship despite their sometimes sharp philosophical differences, and frequently collaborated on legislation and projects to benefit South Carolina. Only Thurmond, Robert Byrd, Ted Kennedy, Daniel Inouye, Carl Hayden, John Stennis and Ted Stevens served longer in the Senate than Hollings.

Hollings remained very popular in South Carolina over the years, even as the state became increasingly friendly to Republicans at the national level. In his first three bids for a full term, he never dropped below 60 percent of the vote. In the 1992 election, however, he faced an unexpectedly close race against former Congressman Tommy Hartnett in what was otherwise a very good year for Democrats nationally. Hartnett had represented the Charleston area in Congress from 1981 to 1987, thus making him Hollings' congressman. His appeal in the Lowcountry — traditionally a swing region at the state level — enabled him to hold Hollings to only 50 percent of the vote.

In his last Senate race in 1998, Hollings faced Republican congressman Bob Inglis. One of the more heated and notable moments of the race was a newspaper interview in which Hollings referred to Inglis as a "goddamn skunk". Hollings was re-elected 52%-45%.

Presidential candidate

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Hollings tried to seek the Democratic lead running mate during the 1984 Presidential race. He lost to Walter Mondale.

Personal life and death

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Hollings was married to Martha Patricia Salley until they divorced. Then he was married to Rita Liddy from 1971 until her death in 2012. He had four children with Patricia. He lived in Charleston, South Carolina.

Hollings died on April 6, 2019 at his home in Isle of Palms, South Carolina. He was 97.[3] At the time of his death, his was the oldest living former United States senator. [4]

  1. "Ernest Frederick Hollings". 4 October 2011. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  2. "Finding Aid for the Gubernatorial Papers of the Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings Collection" (PDF). South Carolina Political Collections of the University of South Carolina. Retrieved September 14, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 30, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  3. Hicks, Brian; Kropf, Schuyler (April 6, 2019). "Former SC Governor, U.S. Senator Ernest F. 'Fritz' Hollings dies at 97". The Post and Courier. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  4. Hicks, Brian; Kropf, Schuyler (April 6, 2019). "Former SC Governor, U.S. Senator Ernest F. 'Fritz' Hollings dies at 97". The Post and Courier. Retrieved April 6, 2019.


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Other websites

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Media related to Ernest Hollings at Wikimedia Commons