Edward Gurney

Edward Gurney

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Edward Gurney

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Edward John Gurney (January 12, 1914 – May 14, 1996) was an American politician from Florida, where he served as a Representative and a United States Senator. He was the first Republican Senator elected from Florida since Reconstruction.


Gurney was born in Portland, Maine. He attended public schools and went on to graduate from Colby College in 1935 and Harvard Law School in 1938. He was admitted to the Bar of New York the following year and began practicing law in New York City.

After U.S. entry into World War II, Gurney enlisted as a private in the army and saw action in the European theater of conflict. In 1946 he was discharged as a lieutenant colonel. Gurney entered Duke Law School, and he received a degree in 1948. He then moved to Winter Park, Florida.

In 1952 Gurney was elected city commissioner and served until his election as city attorney for Maitland. He completed his career in local office with service as mayor during 1961 to 1962.

Gurney was elected to the United States Congress in 1962, 1964, and 1966. In 1968, he was elected to the United States Senate for the seat of retiring Democrat George Smathers. The election coincided with Richard Nixon's victory in the presidential race that year. Gurney's victory can be attributed to the Republican campaign's Southern Strategy. Gurney defeated his opponent, former Governor Leroy Collins, with 55.9 percent of the vote to Collins' 44.1 percent. Many supporters of third-party presidential candidate......
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