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Dee Huddleston
United States Senator
from Kentucky

In office
January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1985
Preceded by John Cooper
Succeeded by Mitch McConnell
Member of the Kentucky Senate
from the 10th district

In office
January 4, 1966 – December 1972
Preceded by Paul Fuqua
Succeeded by Joe Prather
Personal details
Born Walter Darlington Huddleston
April 15, 1926(1926-04-15) (age 95)
Burkesville, Kentucky, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jean Pearce (1947–2003)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1944–1946
Battles/wars World War II

Walter Darlington "Dee" Huddleston (born April 15, 1926) is a retired American politician. He is a Democrat from Kentucky who represented the state in the United States Senate from 1973 until 1985.

Life and career[]

Huddleston was born in Burkesville, the seat of Cumberland County in south central Kentucky. After he graduated from high school, he enlisted in the United States Army and served as a tank gunner in Europe during and after World War II from 1944 to 1946. He then attended the University of Kentucky in Lexington, from which he graduated in 1949. In 1947 he married Martha Jean Pearce (1929–2003).

Huddleston was a manager of radio stations in Kentucky from 1949 to 1972. He entered politics in 1964 when he was elected to the Kentucky State Senate. He was elected as a state senator in 1965, serving until 1972; for a time, he was the body's majority leader.

In 1972, Huddleston ran for the U.S. Senate seat which was being vacated by retiring Republican John Sherman Cooper. He narrowly defeated Republican Louie B. Nunn, a recent former governor, receiving a 51% to 48% margin.[1] Huddleston was reelected in 1978 with 61 percent of the vote over the former Republican state Representative Louie R. Guenthner, Jr., of Louisville.

In 1984, Huddleston's Republican opponent was Jefferson County (Louisville) Judge-Executive Mitch McConnell. McConnell gained political traction with a series of television campaign ads making sport of Huddleston's attendance record in the Senate. Mitch McConnell accused him of putting "his private speaking engagements ahead of his Senate responsibilities."[2] Despite these ads, the race was very close, with McConnell only defeating Huddleston when the last returns came in (49.9%-to-49.5%).[3]

Huddleston was known as a member of the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, as was typical of party members from Kentucky.

In the late 1980s, Huddleston was the head of the English Language Political Action Committee (a.k.a. "El Pac"). He currently serves on the National Board of Advisors of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

After leaving the Senate, Huddleston moved to Elizabethtown, the seat of Hardin County in west central Kentucky.

In 2012, Huddleston announced he was stepping down as Chairman of First Financial Service Corporation.[4]


External links[]

  • W at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Y. Brown Sr.
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Kentucky
(Class 2)

1972, 1978, 1984
Succeeded by
Harvey I. Sloane
Preceded by
Les AuCoin, Joe Biden, Bill Bradley, Robert Byrd, Tom Daschle, Bill Hefner, Barbara B. Kennelly, George Miller, Tip O'Neill, Paul Tsongas, Tim Wirth
Response to the State of the Union address
Served alongside: Max Baucus, Joe Biden, David Boren, Barbara Boxer, Robert Byrd, Dante Fascell, William H. Gray, Tom Harkin, Carl Levin, Tip O'Neill, Claiborne Pell
Succeeded by
Bill Clinton
Bob Graham
Tip O'Neill
United States Senate
Preceded by
John Sherman Cooper
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Kentucky
Served alongside: Marlow Cook, Wendell H. Ford
Succeeded by
Mitch McConnell

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