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Estes Kefauver - Political Persuasions

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One of Estes Kefauver's clients was a local newspaper called the Chattanooga News. While serving as the paper's attorney over the years he developed an interest in politics. He sought election to the Tennessee senate in 1938. Though the campaign was unsuccessful, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1939.

Kefauver spent the next nine years in the House where he was a consistent supporter of organized labor and other movements considered liberal (radical) in the South at the time (the South was more traditional and less open to progress and change). He focused most of his legislative efforts on congressional reform and antimonopoly measures (measures restricting businesses from controlling market prices for their goods). Kefauver established himself as one who did things on his own and who dedicated a great deal of energy and study into each area requiring his attention.

In 1948 Kefauver ran for the U.S. Senate as a Democrat. His campaign began with little public awareness or interest, while his opponent was well known and experienced. Kefauver began a new style of personal campaign by going town-to-town, meeting voters, and shaking their hands. Kefauver's sharp wit and sense of humor while interacting with people turned the tide of public support his way and was a dramatic high point of the campaign regarding the candidate's celebrity Senator Estes Kefauver, seated second from left, during a Senate crime committee meeting in 1951. (AP/Wide World Photos)
status. His campaign strategy was successful and Kefauver was elected as the Democratic senator from Tennessee. He began serving on January 3, 1949, and would remain in the position until his death in 1963.

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