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Herbert Sanford Walters

In office
August 20, 1963 – November 3, 1964
Preceded by Estes Kefauver
Succeeded by Ross Bass

Born November 17, 1881
Leadvale, Tennessee
Died October 17, 1973
Knoxville, Tennessee
Nationality American
Political party Democratic

Herbert Sanford Walters (November 17, 1881–October 17, 1973) was a Democratic United States Senator from Tennessee from 1963 to 1964.


Walters was a native of Jefferson County, Tennessee. He was a graduate of the former Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee and attended Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee and the University of Tennessee.

Walters became a prominent banker in East Tennessee. He served a term in the Tennessee House of Representatives (1934 to 1936) prior to serving in the state Cabinet as Commissioner of Highways.

Walters was appointed to the Senate on August 20, 1963 by Tennessee Governor Frank G. Clement, upon the death of Senator Estes Kefauver. At age 81 when assuming office, Walters was immediately assumed to be a caretaker who would show no interest in being elected to the office in his own right, which proved to be correct. Political observers felt that Clement took this action in part because he intended to run for the office himself in the next election, which also proved to be correct, but was unwilling to face the consequences of appointing himself to the office in the interim, which would also led to his succession as governor by lieutenant governor Jared Maddux, an event which would have entailed additional consequences of its own. However, Clement failed to capture the Democratic nomination for the seat in the August 1964 Democratic primary.

Walters served his time in the Senate rather quietly, very much in the shadow of the state's senior senator, Albert Gore, Sr.. He supported most of the initiatives of Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson, who became President only three months after Walter's appointment to the Senate when the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Like most senators from the Deep South at that time, Walters voted against civil rights legislation, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Walters' term of service in the Senate ended on November 3, 1964, immediately after the election of his successor, Ross Bass, which is traditional with appointed senators who do not seek election.

Walters also served as a trustee of the University of Tennessee. A biography of Walters, The Herbert Walters Story by author Howard Hill, was published at about the time of his Senate service. Walters is buried at Jarrnagin Cemetery in Morristown, Tennessee. Walters State Community College in Morristown is named in his honor.

United States Senate
Preceded by
C. Estes Kefauver
United States Senator (Class 2) from Tennessee
Served alongside: Albert Gore
Succeeded by
Ross Bass


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