Senator Byrd Campaign Button



Senator Byrd Campaign Button





Campaign button for Senator Byrd's campaign for U.S. Senator in 1976. Senator Byrd ran unopposed

Senator Robert C. Byrd was raised by his uncle, Titus Byrd, a coal miner. The family lived in several company towns, in houses with no running water or electricity. He married his high school sweetheart, Erma Ora James, in 1937. He worked in a gas station and grocery store, and learned the meat cutting trade. By the late 1930s, he was working as a butcher for $85 a week. He worked in shipyards in Baltimore and Tampa in World War II, then returned to West Virginia and opened a grocery store in Sophia, Raleigh County.

In 1946 he was elected to the state House of Delegates. During this time he was briefly involved with the Ku Klux Klan. He renounced his membership later in his career. He was re-elected in 1948, and elected to the state Senate in 1950. He won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1952, and was re-elected in 1954 and 1956. He ran for U.S. Senate in 1958, despite being opposed by coal companies and John L. Lewis, president of the United Mine Workers. He won the Democratic primary and the general election by solid margins, and by wide margins in each election until his death in 2010.



Political Campaigns and Elections Material, West Virginia & Regional History Center

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