COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Former South Carolina Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, a moderate six-term Democrat who made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 1984, has died. He was 97.
Family spokesman Andy Brack says Hollings died early Saturday.
Hollings also served a term as South Carolina governor in the early ’60s, gaining a reputation as a relative moderate on desegregation.
He won a special election to the Senate in 1966 and then won the first of six full terms in 1968.
Hollings began his quest for the presidency in April 1983 but dropped out the following March after dismal showings in Iowa and New Hampshire.
His more than 38 years of service in the Senate, from 1966 to January 2005, made him the eighth longest-serving senator in U.S. history.
Several lawmakers have issued statements following Sen. Hollings’ passing
Gov. Henry McMaster:
One of South Carolina’s greatest lions roars no more. Fierce, bold, and robust – the sounds of Fritz Hollings’ vision and drive for the Palmetto State will continue to be heard by generations. The greatness and success of this state has benefited from the hand of his leadership. Peggy and I are heartened at his reunion with Peatsy and offer our prayers and condolences to the family.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina):
“By any measure Senator Hollings led one of the most incredible and consequential lives of any member of the Greatest Generation. Like so many Citadel graduates, he served in combat in World War II and was willing to die for his country.
“With his passing, South Carolina has lost one of her greatest champions and most effective political leaders.
“Fritz was a giant of a man who was often called the ‘senator from central casting.’
“He was the father of South Carolina’s technical school system, which is the envy of the nation. He led our state through the travails of the civil rights movement with dignity and went on to become one of the most effective senators to ever serve.
“When it came to South Carolina, Fritz could move mountains in the Senate and was a thought leader in the areas of commerce, appropriations, and defense.
“As the junior senator from South Carolina, he welcomed me to the Senate and helped me get established. And until his dying day, Fritz Hollings was always advocating and urging for policies that would make our country strong.
“When it comes to Senator Hollings, they broke the mold.”
S.C. Congressman Jeff Duncan:
Senator Hollings dedicated his life in service to his state and his country. Whether he was serving his country as an artillery officer during WWII, or fighting on behalf of his constituents in the halls of the United States Senate, Senator Hollings was the embodiment of a true public servant. His legacy will continue to be felt for generations to come. Melody and I send our prayers and condolences to his family, as well as our appreciation for his years of service towards improving the lives of all South Carolinians.