Liz J. Patterson

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For other people of the same name, see Elizabeth Patterson (disambiguation).
Liz Patterson
Lizzypatterson.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1993
Preceded by Carroll A. Campbell, Jr.
Succeeded by Bob Inglis
Member of the South Carolina Senate from the 12th District
In office
January 8, 1985 – January 3, 1987
Preceded by Single-member district established
Succeeded by John R. Russell
Member of the South Carolina Senate from the 4th District
In office
January 8, 1980 – January 8, 1985
Preceded by James B. Stephen
Succeeded by Charles L. Powell
Personal details
Born (1939-11-18) November 18, 1939 (age 75)
Columbia, South Carolina
Political party Democratic

Elizabeth Johnston "Liz" Patterson (born November 18, 1939 in Columbia, South Carolina) is an American politician from the Democratic Party. She was a three-term member of the United States House of Representatives. Her father, Olin D. Johnston, served as Governor of South Carolina and as a long-term member of the United States Senate.

Early life and education[edit]

Elizabeth Johnston, known as "Liz", was born into a political Democratic family. Her father Olin D. Johnston had been governor of the state in the 1930s and was a long-term member of the US Senate, from 1945 to his death in 1965. Her family lived outside Washington, DC in Kensington, Maryland, where she grew up during those years. She returned to South Carolina for college, graduating from Columbia College and doing graduate work at the University of South Carolina.

Career[edit]

Johnston was attracted to politics and government, working in Washington, D.C., for the Peace Corps and the Office of Economic Opportunity during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Patterson also worked as the South Carolina director of the Head Start Program and as an assistant to Congressman James R. Mann.

She returned to live in Spartanburg County, where she was elected to the County Council, serving from 1975 to 1976. In 1978 she was elected to the ][South Carolina State Senate]], serving from 1979 to 1986.

In 1986 Patterson was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina's 4th congressional district in 1986, succeeding Carroll A. Campbell, Jr., who had given up the seat to make a successful run for governor of South Carolina. She narrowly defeated Bill Workman, the mayor of Greenville, despite Campbell's presence at the top of the Republican ticket. Patterson was the first woman elected to Congress from South Carolina in her own right; the previous three, Elizabeth Hawley Gasque, Willa L. Fulmer, and Corinne Boyd Riley, served as caretakers after their husbands died in office. She served on the House committees on Banking and Veterans Affairs.

Workman's father, W. D. Workman, Jr., a journalist and author, had been her father Olin Johnston's Republican opponent in the 1962 general election, when Johnston won his last term in the U.S. Senate. Johnston died three years later in 1965 without completing that term.

Patterson was narrowly reelected in 1988, when she defeated Republican attorney Knox H. White, former mayor of Greenville. George H. W. Bush carried the 4th district by the largest margin in the state.

She won a third term with a greater margin in 1990 over Terry Haskins, a state Representative from Greenville. That year Campbell, as the Republican incumbent, won reelection as governor in a landslide.

Although Patterson represented a district that had been trending Republican for some time, she was thought to be a fairly secure incumbent, given her family ties and her victory in three successive elections under difficult conditions. She was narrowly defeated for re-election in 1992 by Republican Bob Inglis, an attorney who had never run for office before. No woman has served in Congress from South Carolina since Patterson left office. In this presidential election, incumbent President George H.W. Bush carried the state by 48% and the state's results demonstrated that South Carolina had completed its migration to becoming one of the strongest Republican-voting states. Its white majority has voted Republican since.

Patterson was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina in 1994. Patterson is teaching political science at Spartanburg Methodist College and is the chairwoman of the Spartanburg County Democratic Party.

References[edit]

  • Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress.
  • South Carolina Legislative Manual.

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Carroll A. Campbell, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 4th congressional district

1987–1993
Succeeded by
Bob Inglis
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jeff Smith
Democratic nominee for United States Congress from South Carolina's 4th Congressional District
1986, 1988, 1990, 1992
Succeeded by
Jerry Fowler
Preceded by
Nick Theodore
Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
1994
Succeeded by
Nick Theodore