Cleve Benedict

Cleveland Keith "Cleve" Benedict (born March 21, 1935) is a retired Republican politician from West Virginia.

Cleve Benedict
Cleve Benedict.png
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture
In office
GovernorGaston Caperton
Preceded byGus Douglass
Succeeded byGus Douglass
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from West Virginia's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1983
Preceded byHarley Orrin Staggers
Succeeded byHarley O. Staggers, Jr.
Personal details
Cleveland Keith Benedict

(1935-03-21) March 21, 1935 (age 85)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Alma materPrinceton University (A.B.)

Life and careerEdit

Benedict was born in 1935 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He graduated from The Hill School in 1953 and then studied at Princeton University, graduating with an A.B. in history in 1957.[1] As part of his undergraduate degree, Benedict wrote a senior thesis titled "The Rise of the Natural Sciences and their Impact upon Oxford and Cambridge."[2] He later attended a school for cattlemen in Kansas and settled near Lewisburg, West Virginia.

Benedict held several appointed positions in the Republican state administration of Arch Moore from 1969 to 1977. In 1970, he was an unsuccessful candidate for the state Senate's 11th District.

Benedict was the Republican nominee for the United States House of Representatives in the 2nd congressional district in 1980. The incumbent, Harley O. Staggers, had retired and the Democratic Party had gone through a bruising 10-way primary election. The Democrats also faced the burden of the extremely unpopular federal administration of Jimmy Carter and state administration of Jay Rockefeller, both of whom carried the state, but lost the 2nd District by large margins.

Benedict won the general election and was subsequently appointed to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

In 1982, Benedict decided, at the urging of Howard Baker, to forgo re-election and challenge incumbent Senator Robert C. Byrd in the statewide race for the United States Senate. He was unsuccessful, although his campaign made great note of Byrd's record of high office in the Ku Klux Klan, his avoidance of service in World War II, and the fact that Byrd, then alone among members of Congress, owned no home in the state he represented. His campaign represented the last serious and well-funded effort to unseat Byrd, spending $1,098,218.

Benedict was then appointed as a deputy assistant secretary in the Department of Energy. In 1988, he ran for statewide election as Commissioner of the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, winning by a large margin. He chose not to seek re-election in 1992, choosing instead to run for Governor of West Virginia. That November, he was defeated by a large margin in a three-way race. He finished behind incumbent governor Gaston Caperton.

Benedict has since retired to his dairy farm and has eschewed overtures to again seek elective office. He was a delegate to the 1996 Republican National Convention however, he supported Democrat Charlotte Pritt, who ran against Benedict & Caperton in the 1992 Governor's race. Again in 2000, Benedict was elected as a delegate-at-large to the Republican National Convention committed to George W. Bush. He received the second largest number of votes. Recently, he has opposed a 124-turbine, $300 million Beech Ridge Energy wind farm to be built in Greenbrier County.

His son is noted author Pinckney Benedict. He also has two other children, a son and daughter, and lives with his wife Ann Benedict.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ United States Congress; Dodge, Andrew R.; Koed, Betty K. (Aug 25, 2005). "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005". Government Printing Office. Retrieved Aug 25, 2019 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Benedict, Cleveland Keith (1957). "The Rise of the Natural Sciences and their Impact upon Oxford and Cambridge". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Harley Staggers
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from West Virginia's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Buckey Staggers
Party political offices
Title last held by
Elmer Dodson
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from West Virginia
(Class 1)

Succeeded by
Jay Wolfe
Preceded by
Arch Moore
Republican Party nominee for Governor of West Virginia
Succeeded by
Cecil Underwood