Edwin Ruthvin Bethune Jr.
|Member of the |
U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 2nd district
January 3, 1979 - January 3, 1985
|Jim Guy Tucker|
|Tommy F. Robinson|
|Chair of the Arkansas Republican Party|
|Born||December 19, 1935|
Pocahontas, Arkansas, U.S.
|Residence||Little Rock, Arkansas|
|Occupation||Attorney; former FBI agent|
Edwin Ruthvin Bethune Jr. (born December 19, 1935), known as Ed Bethune, is an American lawyer and lobbyist in Washington, D.C., who was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Arkansas from 1979-1985.
Bethune was born to Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Bethune Sr. in Pocahontas, Arkansas. He graduated in 1953 from Pocahontas High School. He was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps from 1954-1957, with service in South Korea.
After military service, Bethune obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1961 from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He received the Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1963 and was admitted to the Arkansas bar that same year.
That year he began his practice in Pocahontas. In 1972, while he was living in Searcy north of Little Rock, he practiced with former Arkansas Republican Party chairman Odell Pollard, who served as his political mentor. Bethune also was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.
He was a prosecuting attorney for the First Judicial District of Arkansas from 1970-1971. He was chairman of the Ninth District Federal Home Loan Bank Board from 1973-1976.
Once in the House, Bethune made federal taxes and spending his chief concern.
Bethune opposed Reagan's proposal to sell AWACS fighter planes to Saudi Arabia, which was against the advice of Israel. Bethune joined Senators Bumpers and Pryor to veto a proposal to override Arkansas' 10 percent interest ceiling for retail loans.
Bethune was chosen in 1979 as the president of the U.S. House Republican freshman class. He was reelected with ease in 1980--he polled 159,148 votes (78.9 percent) to 42,278 (21 percent) for his Democratic opponent, Jacksonville Mayor James G. Reid.
In 1982, a year of widespread election of Democrats, Bethune had a harder race. He did not begin campaigning until the final three weeks of the contest, as he had been confident of winning a third term. His opponent was the Democratic former state Senator Charles Lindbergh George Sr. (born ca. 1929), from Cabot. George was not the Democrats' first choice; party leaders failed to persuade Little Rock attorney Sandy Sidney McMath (born ca. 1942), the son of the former governor, Sidney Sanders McMath, to challenge Bethune.
Bethune survived the challenge and gained re-election: 96,775 (53.9 percent) to George's 82,913 (46.1 percent). It was his last election victory.
In 1984, Bethune sought the Senate seat against the incumbent Senator Pryor. He was decisively defeated, with Pryor receiving 502,341 votes (57.3 percent) to Bethune's 373,615 (42.7 percent).
After leaving Congress, Bethune served from 1986-1988 as the Arkansas Republican Party state Chairman. He resisted suggestions that he run for governor in 1986, and the nomination went to Frank White.
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This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
James Guy Tucker Jr.
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 2nd congressional district
1979 - 1985
Tommy F. Robinson
|Party political offices|
William Thomas "Tom" Kelly Jr.
| Republican Party nominee for United States Senator from Arkansas (Class 2)
No nominee in 1990
Tim Hutchinson in 1996
Len Everette Blaylock Sr.
| Chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas
1986 - 1988
Kenneth Lloyd "Ken" Coon Sr.