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William Henson Moore, III

Henson Moore

In office
1975 – 1987
Preceded by John Richard Rarick
Succeeded by Richard Hugh Baker

Born October 4, 1939(1939-10-04)
Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Carolyn Cherry Moore (born 1941)
Children William Henson Moore, IV (born 1964), Jennifer Lee Moore, and Cherry Ann Moore
Occupation Retired attorney; Lobbyist
Religion Episcopalian

William Henson Moore, III (born October 4, 1939), is a retired attorney and businessman who is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, having represented the Baton Rouge-based Sixth Congressional District, from 1975-1987. He is only the second Republican to have represented Louisiana in the House since Reconstruction, the first having been David C. Treen, then of Jefferson Parish.

In 1986, Moore was the unsuccessful Republican candidate in the race to replace the retiring U.S. Senator Russell B. Long. He lost to Democrat John B. Breaux of Crowley, the seat of Acadia Parish in southwestern Louisiana.


Early years, education

Moore was born in Lake Charles, the seat of Calcasieu Parish in southwestern Louisiana, to W.H. Moore, II, an oil company executive, and the former Madge Pearce. The family moved to Baton Rouge, where Moore graduated in 1958 from Baton Rouge High School. In 1961, he received his bachelor of arts degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. His Juris Doctor degree from LSU followed in 1965. Moore was admitted to the bar in 1966. In 1967, he joined the Baton Rouge law firm Dale, Woen, Richardson, Taylor, and Mathews, first as an associate and then as a member. Moore also obtained a master's degree from LSU in 1973.

Moore served in the U.S. Army from 1965-1967. In 1969, he switched party allegiance from Democrat to Republican after having supported Richard M. Nixon in the 1968 general election. He served on the elected Louisiana Republican State Central Committee from 1971-1975, when he entered Congress. He was a delegate to the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, which renominated the Reagan-Bush ticket.

In Congress

Moore was initially elected to Congress on November 5, 1974, during mid-term elections which produced huge Democratic gains in both houses of Congress. He succeeded John Robert Rarick of St. Francisville in West Feliciana Parish north of Baton Rouge. Rarick, a conservative at odds with his national party leadership, had lost the Democratic primary to Jeff LaCaze, a young liberal broadcaster who declared himself a "national Democrat". Moore and LaCaze squared off in the general election. Because Moore's margin over LaCaze was only 14 votes (61,034 to 61,020) and a voting machine had malfunctioned, a special election rematch was directed by the Louisiana courts.

Moore won the special election held in January 1975 with a decisive 74,802 votes (54.1 percent) to LaCaze's 63,366 ballots (45.9 percent). Moore gained 13,768 votes in the second election, while LaCaze netted only an additional 2,346 ballots. Moore fared best in Washington Parish and his parish of residence, East Baton Rouge. He also carried that part of Livingston Parish within the district as well as Tangipahoa Parish. He lost in East Feliciana, St. Helena, and West Feliciana parishes. West Feliciana had been the only parish to support George McGovern for president in 1972. Moore's share of the vote in West Feliciana, a heavily African-American region, was 32.4 percent.

In 1976, Moore faced a spirited Democratic challenger in liberal State Senator J.D. DeBlieux (1912-2005) of Baton Rouge, who had opposed the late Senator Allen J. Ellender in the 1966 Democratic primary. Moore polled 99,780 (65.2 percent) to DeBlieux's 53,212 (34.8 percent). Moore won most of the traditionally Democratic parishes in the district despite the popularity of the Jimmy Carter-Walter Mondale ticket. For the remainder of his tenure in the House, Moore did not face strong challenges from the Democrats.

In Congress, Moore compiled a conservative voting record.

1986 U.S. Senate campaign

Moore gave up his House seat to enter the race to succeed Senator Long. In the jungle primary, Moore led Seventh District Democratic Congressman John Breaux, with 529,433 votes (44.2 percent) to 447,328 (37.3 percent). State Senator Samuel B. Nunez polled another 73,504 votes (6.7 percent). Also on the ballot was the Republican Robert Max Ross (1933-2009), a small businessman from tiny Mangham in Richland Parish in northeast Louisiana,[1] who had earlier opposed David Treen for governor in 1971 and 1983 and J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., for the U.S. Senate in 1984. During the 1986 campaign, Democrats accused the Louisiana GOP of attempting to establish schemes to depress black turnout in the general election. The Republicans replied that they were merely trying to remove names from the rolls of those who had not voted in four years, a procedure required by Louisiana law.

In the general election, Breaux turned the tables on Moore: 723,586 (52.8 percent) to 646,311 (47.2 percent), a margin of 77,275 ballots. Nationally, the Democrats regained control of the Senate for the two remaining years of the Reagan administration. Breaux held the Senate seat for eighteen years. Moore's House seat was won in 1986 by a fellow Republican, state Representative Richard H. Baker of Baker, a town north of Baton Rouge in East Baton Rouge Parish. Baker held the seat until 2008, when he resigned to become a lobbyist.

Post-congressional years

After his House service, U.S. President Reagan named Moore commissioner of the Panama Canal Consultative Committee (1987-1989). He became deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy from 1989 to 1992. He was named deputy chief of staff for U.S. President George H.W. Bush during Bush's last year in office.

From 1992 to 1995, he was a partner in the Texas and New York-based law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani (includes senior partner Rudolph W. Giuliani). Afterwards, he was the president and CEO of the American Forest & Paper Association and then the president of the International Council of Forest & Paper Associations. Both positions involved considerable lobbying. Moore retired in 2007, and he and his wife, the former Carolyn Cherry, built a new home in Baton Rouge. The couple has three children, W.H. Moore, IV, Jennifer Lee Moore, and Cherry Ann Moore.

Moore serves on the boards of directors of the American Council for Capital Formation and the United States - New Zealand Council. He is a member of the American Legion and Rotary International. He is Episcopalian and a member of Trinity Episcopal Church, Baton Rouge.

In 2002, Moore was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.


United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Robert Rarick (D)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Richard Hugh Baker (R)


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