Fred R. Harris

Fred R. Harris

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Fred R. Harris

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Fred Roy Harris (born November 13, 1930) is a former Democratic United States Senator from the state of Oklahoma. He served from 1964 until 1973.

Biography

Harris was born in Cotton County, Oklahoma. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1952 and its law school in 1954. He was first elected to the Oklahoma State Senate in 1956 and served in it until 1964. For most of this time he was one of its youngest members. He made an unsuccessful race for governor of Oklahoma in 1962; however, he became better known throughout the state as a consequence of this race.

U.S. Senate

In 1964 Harris entered the race to serve out the unexpired term of United States Senator Robert S. Kerr, who had died in office. He was successful, defeating former Governor J. Howard Edmondson, who had been appointed to succeed Kerr, in the Democratic primary, then narrowly upsetting Republican nominee and legendary Oklahoma football coach Bud Wilkinson by 51% to 49%, and was sworn in as soon as the vote totals could be verified, becoming, again, one of the youngest members of the body in which he was serving. Despite being a fairly liberal from an increasingly conservative state, he was elected to a full term in 1966, defeating attorney Pat H. Patterson by a 54% to 46% margin. During this Senate term, he also served briefly as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, being both preceded and succeeded in that position by Larry O'Brien. Harris was one of the final two candidates...
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