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G. William Whitehurst

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G. William Whitehurst
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1969 – January 3, 1987
Preceded byPorter Hardy Jr.
Succeeded byOwen B. Pickett
Personal details
Born (1925-03-12) March 12, 1925 (age 99)
Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Alma materWashington and Lee University (B.A.)
University of Virginia (M.A.)
West Virginia University (Ph.D.)
ProfessionJournalist, Professor

George William Whitehurst (born March 12, 1925) is an American retired journalist and politician from Virginia who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1969 to 1987. He began his career as a professor at the Norfolk campus of the College of William and Mary, which became Old Dominion University in 1962. After serving as Dean of Students from 1963 to 1968, Whitehurst left academia for a nineteen-year stay in Congress. Upon retiring from politics, he returned to what was by then Old Dominion University, where he currently holds the chair of Kaufman Lecturer in Public Affairs.[1]

Early life


George William "Dr. Bill" Whitehurst was born in Norfolk, Virginia on March 12, 1925. Graduating from Maury High School in 1942, he served in the United States Navy as an aviation radioman in the Pacific Theater, from 1943 to 1946.[2]

Whitehurst received his bachelor's degree in history from Washington and Lee University in 1950, and his master's degree, also in history, from the University of Virginia in 1951. In 1962, Whitehurst received his Ph.D. in American Diplomatic History from West Virginia University.[1] While attending Washington and Lee University he joined the Delta Upsilon fraternity. He currently serves on the board of directors for Delta Upsilon fraternity. He was an active faculty member at the Norfolk Division of William & Mary in 1950, and was on hand when the Division became an autonomous four-year institution, Old Dominion University, in 1962. He stepped down in 1968 to run for Congress.[2]

Congressional career

1969, Congressional Pictorial Directory, Whitehurst as a first term Congressman

Whitehurst was elected to Congress in 1968 as a Republican from a district based in the Hampton Roads area. He was the first Republican to represent that part of Virginia since the Great Depression,[3] and only the second Republican elected to a full term from that district in the 20th century.

He was re-elected eight more times without serious difficulty. In 1974, for instance, even as Republicans were swept out in the face of voter anger over Watergate, Whitehurst still won comfortably with almost 60 percent of the vote. The Democrats didn't even put up a candidate from 1978 to 1984, and on three of those occasions Whitehurst was completely unopposed. In 1986, Whitehurst stated his support of naturalization of Filipinos who were serving in the United States Navy.[4] He retired in 1987 after declining to run for a tenth term.

For most of his tenure in Congress, he served on the United States House Committee on Armed Services. He also served on the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the United States House Committee on Ethics.

After his service in the United States Congress, Whitehurst returned as a faculty member at Old Dominion University in 1987, where he still teaches.[2]

He also served for many years as an analyst for WTKR in Norfolk.[2] He is also an active United Methodist and has served on the Board of Visitors of the Tidewater Wesley Foundation, the United Methodist Campus Ministry at Old Dominion University, for many years.[5]

Electoral history

  • 1968; Whitehurst defeated Democrat Frederick T. Stant winning 54.21% of the vote.
  • 1970; Whitehurst defeated Democrat Joseph T. Fitzpatrick winning 61.71% of the vote.
  • 1972; Whitehurst defeated Democrat L. Charles Burlage winning 73.45% of the vote.
  • 1974; Whitehurst defeated Democrat Robert R. Richards winning 59.99% of the vote.
  • 1976; Whitehurst defeated Democrat Robert Everett Washington winning 65.69% of the vote.
  • 1978; Whitehurst was unopposed for re-election.
  • 1980; Whitehurst defeated Independent Kenneth Morrison winning 89.84% of the vote.
  • 1982; Whitehurst was unopposed for re-election.
  • 1984; Whitehurst was unopposed for re-election.

2016 Presidential Election


On October 6, 2016, Whitehurst, along with other Republican former members of Congress, was co-signator of a letter opposing Donald J. Trump's candidacy for the office of president.[6] Although the letter did not officially endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton or any other candidate, it did state that "our party's nominee this year is a man who makes a mockery of the principles and values we have cherished and which we sought to represent in Congress."[7]

2020 Presidential Election


On August 24, 2020, Whitehurst was one of 24 former Republican lawmakers to endorse Democratic nominee Joe Biden on the opening day of the Republican National Convention.[8]

Later electoral history

Virginia's 2nd congressional district election, 1980
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican G. William Whitehurst (Incumbent) 97,319 89.84%
Independent Kenneth P. Morrison 11,003 10.16%
Write-in 6 0.01%
Total votes 108,328 100%
Republican hold
Virginia's 2nd congressional district election, 1982
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican G. William Whitehurst (Incumbent) 78,108 99.88%
Write-in 97 0.12%
Total votes 78,205 100%
Republican hold
Virginia's 2nd congressional district election, 1984
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican G. William Whitehurst (Incumbent) 136,632 99.81%
Write-in 256 0.19%
Total votes 136,888 100%
Republican hold


  1. ^ a b "G. William Whitehurst". Old Dominion University. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d
  3. ^ Walzer, Phil (6 March 2015). "Ex-congressman Whitehurst to Receive Norfolk Award". The Virginia Pilot. Archived from the original on 25 October 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  4. ^ 1986 Congressional Record, Vol. 132, Page 9943 (May 7)
  5. ^ http://www.tidewaterwesley.org[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Bash, Dana; Kopan, Tal (6 October 2016). "30 Former GOP Lawmakers Sign Anti-Trump Letter". CNN. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  7. ^ McCaskill, Nolan D. [1] "Former GOP Congressmen Lash Out at Trump" Washington, DC 6 October 2016. Retrieved on 6 October 2016.
  8. ^ Cole, Devan (3 September 2020). "Here are the prominent Republicans backing Biden". CNN. Retrieved 5 September 2020.

Further reading

  • Whitehurst, G. William. Diary of a Congressman. 2 vols. Norfolk: The Donning Company, 1983, 1985.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative