|United States Senator
January 3, 1957 – January 3, 1981
|Preceded by||Walter F. George|
|Succeeded by||Mack F. Mattingly|
|70th Governor of Georgia|
November 17, 1948 – January 11, 1955
|Preceded by||Melvin E. Thompson|
|Succeeded by||Marvin Griffin|
January 14, 1947 – March 18, 1947
|Lieutenant||Melvin E. Thompson|
|Preceded by||Ellis Arnall|
|Succeeded by||Melvin E. Thompson|
|Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry|
January 1971 – January 3, 1981
|Preceded by||Allen Ellender|
|Succeeded by||Jesse Helms|
|Born||Herman Eugene Talmadge
August 9, 1913
McRae, Telfair County, Georgia, USA
|Died||March 21, 2002
Hampton, Henry County
|Spouse(s)||3rd: Lynda Cowart Pierce|
Herman Talmadge, Jr.
|Alma mater||University of Georgia|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1941–1945|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Herman Eugene Talmadge (August 9, 1913 – March 21, 2002), was a Democratic American politician from the state of Georgia. He served as the 70th Governor of Georgia briefly in 1947 and again from 1948 to 1955. After leaving office Talmadge was elected to the U.S. Senate, serving from 1957 until 1981.
Talmadge was born in McRae in Telfair County in south central Georgia, the only son of Eugene Talmadge, who served as Governor of Georgia during much of the 1930s and the 1940s. He earned a degree from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1936, where he had been a member of the Demosthenian Literary Society and Sigma Nu fraternity.
The Three Governors Controversy
The younger Talmadge saw combat in the United States Navy during World War II. On his return from the South Pacific as a lieutenant commander, Herman ran his father's successful campaign for governor in 1946. Supporters of Eugene Talmadge were unsure of Eugene's chances of surviving until he was sworn in, so they did some research into the state constitution and found that if Eugene died before his term began, the Georgia General Assembly would choose between the second and third place finishers. The elder Talmadge ran unopposed, so they arranged for write-in votes for Herman as insurance. In December 1946, the elder Talmadge died. Ultimately, the lieutenant governor-elect, Melvin E. Thompson, the prior Governor, Ellis Arnall, and Herman Talmadge all had themselves sworn in and were concurrently trying to conduct state business from the Georgia State Capitol. Arnall relinquished his claim and supported Thompson. Ultimately, Thompson was supported by the Supreme Court of Georgia.
Career after 1946
Talmadge soon gave in to the court decision and prepared for the special election in 1948, in which Talmadge defeated Governor Thompson. Talmadge was then elected to a full term in 1950. During his terms, Talmadge encouraged industry to move into Georgia. He remained a staunch supporter of racial segregation.
Talmadge was barred by law from seeking another full term as Governor in 1954. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1956. That same year, a "faithless elector" from Alabama cast a single Electoral College vote for Talmadge as Vice President of the United States. During his time as U.S. Senator, Talmadge remained a foe of civil rights legislation. After President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Talmadge, along with more than a dozen other southern Senators, boycotted the 1964 Democratic National Convention. With the help of Richard Russell, Talmadge was appointed to the Agriculture Committee during his first year in Washington and to the Senate Finance Committee shortly thereafter. Talmadge would eventually be named chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. He sponsored bills to help farmers, an important constituency, and served on the Senate Watergate Committee.
In 1968, Talmadge faced the first of his three Republican challengers for his Senate seat. E. Earl Patton (1927-2011), later a member of the Georgia State Senate, received 256,796 votes (22.5 percent) to Talmadge's 885,103 (77.3 percent). Patton, a real estate developer, was the first Republican in Georgia to run for the U.S. Senate since the Reconstruction era. Talmadge won another large reelection margin in 1974, but he ran afoul of Republican Mack Mattingly in 1980.
Talmadge ran a responsive office, requiring his staff to respond to every constituent letter within 24 hours of receipt.
On October 11, 1979, Talmadge was censured by an 81–15 vote of the U.S. Senate for "improper financial conduct" between 1973 and 1978, after having accepted reimbursements of $43,435.83 for official expenses not incurred and for improper reporting of such as campaign expenditures.
Talmadge also went through a divorce from his wife and a tough primary challenge from Zell Miller in 1980. Talmadge defeated Miller but lost to Mack Mattingly in the general election. Mattingly was the first Republican to represent Georgia in the Senate since Reconstruction.
After his defeat, Talmadge retired to his home where he died more than two decades later at the age of 88. Talmadge had two sons, Herman E. Talmadge, Jr., and Robert Shingler Talmadge.
- Kornacki, Steve (2011-02-03) "The 'Southern Strategy', fulfilled", Salon.com
- Talmadge: A Political Legacy, A Politician's Life. Herman Talmadge with Mark Royden Winchell
- Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections, p. 1441
- Clymer, Adam (22 March 2002). "Herman Talmadge, Georgia Senator and Governor, Dies at 88". New York Times. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- "Expulsion and Censure". United States Senate. Retrieved May 31, 2006.
- "Trial Of a Lion: Talmadge fights for survival". Time 113 (20). May 14, 1979. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
- Minchin, Timothy J. (2015). "'An Historic Upset': Herman Talmadge's 1980 Senate Defeat and the End of a Political Dynasty". Georgia Historical Quarterly 99 (3). Retrieved 21 June 2016.
- "Herman Talmadge during his last day as a Georgia senator, Atlanta, Georgia, December 5, 1980". Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archive, Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library. Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
- "Honorary Degrees Awarded by Oglethorpe University". Oglethorpe University. Retrieved 2015-03-13.
- United States Congress. "Herman Talmadge (id: T000035)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Oral History Interviews with Herman Talmadge , , ,  from Oral Histories of the American South Oral History Interviews, 1985-1995. Georgia's Political Heritage Program, (University of West Georgia. Carrollton, Ga.
- A film clip "Longines Chronoscope with Herman Talmadge is available at the Internet Archive
|Governor of Georgia
Melvin E. Thompson
Melvin E. Thompson
|Governor of Georgia
Allen J. Ellender
|Chairman of Senate Agriculture Committee
|United States Senate|
Walter F. George
|U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Georgia
Served alongside: Richard B. Russell, Jr., David H. Gambrell, Sam Nunn