William L. Scott

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William Lloyd Scott
William Lloyd Scott.jpg
United States Senator
from Virginia
In office
January 3, 1973 – January 1, 1979
Preceded by William B. Spong, Jr.
Succeeded by John Warner
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 8th district
In office
January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1973
Preceded by Howard W. Smith
Succeeded by Stanford E. Parris
Personal details
Born (1915-07-01)July 1, 1915
Williamsburg, Virginia
Died February 14, 1997(1997-02-14) (aged 81)
Fairfax Station, Virginia
Nationality American
Political party Republican

William Lloyd Scott (July 1, 1915 – February 14, 1997) was a Republican politician from Virginia.


Scott was born in Williamsburg, Virginia. He received a law degree from George Washington University, and was employed by the federal government 1934–1961, principally as trial attorney with Department of Justice. He engaged in private practice of law in Fairfax, Virginia, 1961–1966.

Scott won the Republican nomination for Virginia's 8th congressional district in 1966. He expected to face 18-term Democratic incumbent and House Rules Committee chairman Howard W. Smith in November, but Smith was defeated by a more liberal Democrat, State Delegate George Rawlings, in the Democratic primary. Gaining support from more conservative Democrats, Scott handily defeated Rawlings in November. He was easily re-elected twice.

In 1972, he won the Republican nomination for the United States Senate and defeated freshman Democrat William B. Spong, Jr. in a close race, making him the first Republican Senator from Virginia since Reconstruction. Scott probably would not have won had it not been for Richard Nixon's landslide victory in that year's presidential election. Nixon won Virginia by almost 38 points and carried all but one of the state's counties. Scott did not run for re-election in 1978 and resigned on January 1, 1979, two days before his term would expire so that the governor of Virginia could appoint his successor, John Warner, to the office a day days early gaining seniority over other new senators in that class.[1]

Scott was a resident of Fairfax Station, Virginia, but confined to a nursing center in Fairfax, Virginia for Alzheimer's Disease until his death. Interment was in Fairfax Memorial Park, Fairfax, Va.[1]

A 1974 article in New Times by Nina Totenberg reported that Scott had been ranked at the top of the list of "The Ten Dumbest Members of Congress". Scott held a press conference to deny this judgment.[2] Forty years later, journalist Harry Stein, who provided much of the background research to Totenberg, wrote that he agreed with Scott's claim that the article, while accurate, was created by "some left-wing kids from Richmond with an agenda."[3]

Scott was known and criticized for the expenses incurred during his fact-finding trips abroad.[4]


  1. ^ a b "William Scott, 81, Congressman Symbolizing G.O.P. Rise in South". The New York Times. 1997-02-17. Retrieved 2008-05-09. The cause was a chest infection. He also had Alzheimer's disease...His upset victory in 1972...made him the first Republican to win a Senate seat from Virginia since Reconstruction. 
  2. ^ "Nina Totenberg", Current Biography Yearbook, 1996, pages 575–579.
  3. ^ Stein, Harry (Spring 2008). "How the Press Got Political". City Journal 18 (2). Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  4. ^ Tierney, John (27 November 1978). "Senate Losing One of a Kind". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Howard W. Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 8th congressional district

January 3, 1967 - January 3, 1973
Succeeded by
Stanford E. Parris
United States Senate
Preceded by
William B. Spong, Jr.
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Virginia
January 3, 1973 - January 1, 1979
Served alongside: Harry F. Byrd, Jr.
Succeeded by
John W. Warner