Jeremiah Denton

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Jeremiah Denton
U.S. Senator from Alabama
From: January 2, 1981 – January 3, 1987
Successor Richard Shelby
Party Republican
Religion Catholic

Jeremiah Andrew Denton Jr. (born July 15, 1924 in Mobile, Alabama, died March 28, 2014 in Virginia Beach, Virginia) was a retired United States Navy Rear Admiral, Naval Aviator and a former U.S. senator, of the Republican party, for the state of Alabama. He spent almost eight years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and later wrote a book about his experiences. Denton was the first Roman Catholic to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate.

Political career

Following his retirement from the Navy, Denton accepted a position with the Christian Broadcasting Network as consultant to his friend, CBN founder Pat Robertson, a position Denton held until 1980. During this time, both Denton and Robertson repeatedly expressed military support for the Contra forces in El Salvador.

In 1980, Denton ran as a Republican for a U.S. Senate seat from his home state of Alabama and achieved a surprise victory over Democrat Jim E. Folsom, Jr., who (as the son of a popular Democratic governor) had defeated the incumbent in the Democratic primary. In doing so, Denton became the only retired admiral to be elected to the United States Senate. In the Senate, he compiled a solidly conservative voting record. He was featured in a 1981 article in Time Magazine called "The Admiral from Alabama". In 1986, he narrowly lost his bid for reelection to conservative Democrat Congressman Richard Shelby, who later became a Republican in 1994.

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