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Edwin Ruthvin Bethune Jr. (born December 19, 1935), known as Ed Bethune, is an American lawyer and lobbyist in Washington, D.C., who was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Arkansas from 1979-1985.

Edwin Ruthvin Bethune Jr.
Ed Bethune.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1979 – January 3, 1985
Preceded byJim Guy Tucker
Succeeded byTommy F. Robinson
Chair of the Arkansas Republican Party
In office
1986–1988
Preceded byLen Blaylock
Succeeded byKen Coon
Personal details
Born (1935-12-19) December 19, 1935 (age 83)
Pocahontas, Arkansas, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Lana Bethune
Children2
ResidenceLittle Rock, Arkansas
OccupationAttorney; former FBI agent

Early years, education, military, legal practiceEdit

Bethune was born to Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Bethune Sr. in Pocahontas, Arkansas. He graduated in 1953 from Pocahontas High School. He was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps from 1954–1957, with service in South Korea.

After military service, Bethune obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1961 from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He received the Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1963 and was admitted to the Arkansas bar that same year.

CareerEdit

That year he began his practice in Pocahontas. In 1972, while he was living in Searcy north of Little Rock, he practiced with former Arkansas Republican Party chairman Odell Pollard, who served as his political mentor. Bethune also was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.

He was a prosecuting attorney for the First Judicial District of Arkansas from 1970-1971. He was chairman of the Ninth District Federal Home Loan Bank Board from 1973-1976.

Political careerEdit

Campaign for state attorney general, 1972Edit

In 1972, Bethune was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for Arkansas attorney general against the Democrat James Guy Tucker Jr.Tucker defeated Bethune, 370,647 (60 percent) to 247,404 (40 percent).

Election to the U.S. House, 1978Edit

Once in the House, Bethune made federal taxes and spending his chief concern.

Bethune opposed Reagan's proposal to sell AWACS fighter planes to Saudi Arabia, which was against the advice of Israel. Bethune joined Senators Bumpers and Pryor to veto a proposal to override Arkansas' 10 percent interest ceiling for retail loans.

Bethune was chosen in 1979 as the president of the U.S. House Republican freshman class. He was reelected with ease in 1980—he polled 159,148 votes (78.9 percent) to 42,278 (21 percent) for his Democratic opponent, Jacksonville Mayor James G. Reid.

Election of 1982Edit

In 1982, a year of widespread election of Democrats, Bethune had a harder race. He did not begin campaigning until the final three weeks of the contest, as he had been confident of winning a third term. His opponent was the Democratic former state Senator Charles Lindbergh George Sr. (born ca. 1929), from Cabot. George was not the Democrats' first choice; party leaders failed to persuade Little Rock attorney Sandy Sidney McMath (born ca. 1942), the son of the former governor, Sidney Sanders McMath, to challenge Bethune.

Bethune survived the challenge and gained re-election: 96,775 (53.9 percent) to George's 82,913 (46.1 percent). It was his last election victory.

U.S. Senate campaign, 1984Edit

In 1984, Bethune sought the Senate seat against the incumbent Senator Pryor. He was decisively defeated, with Pryor receiving 502,341 votes (57.3 percent) to Bethune's 373,615 (42.7 percent).

After leaving Congress, Bethune served from 1986-1988 as the Arkansas Republican Party state Chairman. He resisted suggestions that he run for governor in 1986, and the nomination went to Frank White.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
James Guy Tucker Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 2nd congressional district

1979 – 1985
Succeeded by
Tommy F. Robinson
Party political offices
Preceded by
William Thomas "Tom" Kelly Jr.
Republican Party nominee for United States Senator from Arkansas (Class 2)
1984
Succeeded by
No nominee in 1990
Tim Hutchinson in 1996
Preceded by
Len Everette Blaylock Sr.
Chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas
1986 – 1988
Succeeded by
Kenneth Lloyd "Ken" Coon Sr.