|West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from West Virginia's 2nd district
January 3, 1981 - January 3, 1983
|Harley Orrin Staggers|
|Harley O. Staggers, Jr.|
Cleveland Keith Benedict
March 21, 1935
|Alma mater||Princeton University|
Benedict was born in 1935 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He graduated from The Hill School in 1953 and then graduated from Princeton University in 1957. He later attended a school for cattlemen in Kansas and settled near Lewisburg, West Virginia.
Benedict held several appointed positions in the Republican state administration of Arch Moore from 1969 to 1977. In 1970, he was an unsuccessful candidate for the state Senate's 11th District.
Benedict was the Republican nominee for the United States House of Representatives in the 2nd congressional district in 1980. The incumbent, Harley O. Staggers, had retired and the Democratic Party had gone through a bruising 10-way primary election. The Democrats also faced the burden of the extremely unpopular federal administration of Jimmy Carter and state administration of Jay Rockefeller, both of whom carried the state, but lost the 2nd District by large margins.
Benedict won the general election and was subsequently appointed to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
In 1982, Benedict decided, at the urging of Howard Baker, to forgo re-election and challenge incumbent Senator Robert C. Byrd in the statewide race for the United States Senate. He was unsuccessful, although his campaign made great note of Byrd's record of high office in the Ku Klux Klan, his avoidance of service in World War II, and the fact that Byrd, then alone among members of Congress, owned no home in the state he represented. His campaign represented the last serious and well-funded effort to unseat Byrd, spending $1,098,218.
Benedict was then appointed as a deputy assistant secretary in the Department of Energy. In 1988, he ran for statewide election as Commissioner of the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, winning by a large margin. He chose not to seek re-election in 1992, choosing instead to run for Governor of West Virginia. That November, he was defeated by a large margin in a three-way race. He finished behind incumbent governor Gaston Caperton.
Benedict has since retired to his dairy farm and has eschewed overtures to again seek elective office. He was a delegate to the 1996 Republican National Convention however, he supported Democrat Charlotte Pritt, who ran against Benedict & Caperton in the 1992 Governor's race. Again in 2000, Benedict was elected as a delegate-at-large to the Republican National Convention committed to George W. Bush. He received the second largest number of votes. Recently, he has opposed a 124-turbine, $300 million Beech Ridge Energy wind farm to be built in Greenbrier County.
His son is noted author Pinckney Benedict. He also has two other children, a son and daughter, and lives with his wife Ann Benedict.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from West Virginia's 2nd congressional district
|Party political offices|
| Republican Party nominee for Governor of West Virginia