Robert Burren Morgan

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Robert Burren Morgan
M000956.jpg
United States Senator
from North Carolina
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1981
Preceded by Sam Ervin
Succeeded by John Porter East
Personal details
Born (1925-10-05) October 5, 1925 (age 88)
Lillington, North Carolina
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Religion Baptist

Robert Burren Morgan (born October 5, 1925) was a Democratic U.S. Senator from the state of North Carolina from 1975 until 1981. Born in Lillington, N.C., Morgan attended Lillington public schools and later East Carolina College and Wake Forest University School of Law.

Morgan's political career began early when political leaders in his home county of Harnett, including highly respected Democratic Party stalwart Veneble Baggett, visited him at the Wake Forest Law School and urged him to run for Clerk of Court. Morgan did so and was elected. After building a reputation in that office, he went into the private practice of law. His skill as a trial lawyer caused his practice to grow, and he soon established a reputation that extended across the state. Personal injury, real property and antitrust law were among his specialties.

He next ran for the North Carolina State Senate and won. He rose to the Senate's highest office, President Pro Tempore, and chaired key committees. He mastered the legislative process, and the experience he obtained in the State Senate served him well when he was later sent to the United States Senate by the voters of North Carolina.

In 1968, Morgan challenged long-time incumbent Attorney General Wade Bruton in the Democratic Party primary, defeated him, and then won the General Election. He served one four-year term and then was re-elected. He served two years of that term and then resigned to run for the U.S. Senate.

Early in his political career, Morgan was considered a conservative supporter of segregation because of his allegiance to his former Wake Forest law professor, conservative politician I. Beverly Lake, Sr., who ran an unsuccessful pro-segregation campaign for governor in 1960 against the progressive supporter of civil rights, Terry Sanford.[1] But later, as an influential state senator, as North Carolina attorney general from 1969 to 1974, and as the successful candidate to succeed Democratic U.S. Senator Sam Ervin, Morgan was considered a moderate.

After winning the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in 1974, Morgan resigned as attorney general. He then won the General Election over Republican William Stevens, garnering 63% of the vote.[2] He was defeated for re-election in 1980 by Republican John P. East in an extremely close race.[3] Morgan returned to the practice of law and also served as director of North Carolina's State Bureau of Investigation under Attorney General Lacy Thornburg.

From 2000 to 2003, Morgan served as founding president of the North Carolina Center for Voter Education, a Raleigh, NC-based nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that seeks to increase civic engagement in North Carolina. Morgan is president emeritus of that organization.[4][5]

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Legal offices
Preceded by
T. Wade Bruton
North Carolina Attorney General
1969–1974
Succeeded by
James H. Carson, Jr.
United States Senate
Preceded by
Sam Ervin
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from North Carolina
1975–1981
Served alongside: Jesse Helms
Succeeded by
John Porter East