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James B. Edwards: Wikis


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James Burrows Edwards

In office
Preceded by John C. West
Succeeded by Richard Riley

In office
January 23, 1981 – November 5, 1982
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Charles Duncan, Jr.
Succeeded by Donald P. Hodel

Born June 24, 1927 (1927-06-24) (age 82)
Hawthorne, Florida
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Alma mater College of Charleston
University of Louisville
University of Pennsylvania
Profession Oral Surgeon
Military service
Service/branch United States Maritime Service
United States Navy
Battles/wars World War II

James Burrows Edwards (born June 24, 1927) is a politician and administrator from South Carolina. He was the first Republican to be elected the Governor of South Carolina since Reconstruction.


Early life and career

Edwards was born in Hawthorne, Florida, and was an officer in the U.S. Maritime Service during World War II. He continued his service in the U.S. Naval Reserve after the war. Edwards received a bachelors degree in 1950 at the College of Charleston where he was a brother of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. He received a D.M.D. in 1955 from the University of Louisville, and did some post-graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Returning to Charleston, Edwards established a dentistry practice in 1960 that specialized in oral surgery. Consequently, he held a variety of positions associated with dentistry in the community.

Political career

Dr. Edwards began his political career when he entered a special election for South Carolina's 1st congressional district, based in Charleston, caused by the death of longtime incumbent L. Mendel Rivers. However, he lost to one of Rivers' staffers, Mendel Jackson Davis.[1]

However, Edwards gained enough name recognition that the next year, he was elected to the South Carolina Senate as a Republican from Charleston County. Two years later, he entered the governor's race as a long-shot candidate. However, Edwards upset General William Westmoreland in the Republican primary, and then defeated Democratic Congressman William Jennings Bryan Dorn in the general election, thus becoming the first Republican governor of the state since Daniel Henry Chamberlain in 1876. Edwards was one of the few bright spots in what was otherwise a very bad year for Republicans due to Watergate (and revulsion against the Vietnam War, a factor that may well have contributed to the defeat of Westmoreland, commander of U.S. forces during the late 1960s).

Later career

After his term expired, President Ronald Reagan appointed Governor Edwards to be the Secretary of Energy in 1981. He resigned a year later to serve as the President of the Medical University of South Carolina, a post he held for seventeen years. In 1997, Edwards was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame for his contributions as governor. Recently, Governor Edwards endorsed Governor Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts) for president.


  1. ^ 1971 special election results from South Carolina's 1st District

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
John C. West
Governor of South Carolina
1975 - 1979
Succeeded by
Richard Riley
Preceded by
Charles Duncan, Jr.
United States Secretary of Energy
1981 - 1982
Succeeded by
Donald P. Hodel


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