Harlan Mathews
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Harlan Mathews

Harlan Mathews
Senator Harlan Mathews (D-TN).jpg
United States Senator
from Tennessee

January 2, 1993 - December 1, 1994[1]
Ned McWherter
Al Gore
Fred Thompson
38th Tennessee State Treasurer

March 31, 1974 - January 17, 1987
GovernorWinfield Dunn
Ray Blanton
Lamar Alexander
Thomas A. Wiseman, Jr.
Steve Adams
Personal details
Born(1927-01-17)January 17, 1927
Sumiton, Alabama, U.S.
DiedMay 9, 2014(2014-05-09) (aged 87)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Resting placeHarpeth Hills Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Pat Jones
ChildrenStanley Mathews
Lester Mathews
Richard Mathews
Alma materJacksonville State University
Vanderbilt University
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceUnited States Navy
Years of service1944-1946

Harlan Mathews (January 17, 1927 - May 9, 2014) was a Democratic United States Senator from Tennessee from 1993 to 1994. He had previously served in the executive and legislative branches of state government in Tennessee for more than 40 years beginning in 1950.[3]

Early life and education

Harlan Mathews was a native of Walker County, Alabama. He was born January 17, 1927 in Sumiton, Alabama, the son of John William Mathews and Lillian (Young) Mathews. In 1944, after high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served until 1946. Returning to Alabama, he graduated from Jacksonville State College (now Jacksonville State University) with a B.A. degree in 1949.[3]:404

After graduating, Mathews obtained a master's degree in public administration from Vanderbilt University in 1950.[5]:41 He began work on Governor Gordon Browning's planning staff. When Frank G. Clement was elected in 1954, Mathews moved to the state's budget staff. A year after beginning his service as commissioner of finance and administration in 1961, he completed his law degree in 1962 from the YMCA Night Law School, now Nashville School of Law.[2][3]:404

Early political career

Mathews joined the staff of the governor of Tennessee in 1950, serving governors Gordon Browning, Frank G. Clement, and Buford Ellington.[5] From 1961-1971 he served as commissioner of finance and administration.

In January 1971, Mathews left the cabinet and entered the private sector for two years, working for Amcon International in Memphis.[5] In 1973, he became the legislative assistant to longtime Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury Bill Snodgrass. In 1974, Mathews was elected state treasurer by the Tennessee General Assembly when his predecessor, Tom Wiseman, resigned to run for governor. The Tennessee General Assembly elected him to his first full two-year term as treasurer in 1975,[5] where he served until January 1987, when he became deputy to Governor Ned R. McWherter.

U.S. Senate

In 1993, Governor Ned McWherter appointed Mathews to the U.S. Senate following the resignation of Al Gore, who resigned to serve as Vice President of the United States. Upon appointing Mathews to the senate, McWherter announced Mathews' role would be one of caretaker, to allow those who wanted to run for the position to prepare their campaigns. Mathews had no ambition of running for election to the U.S. Senate.[6]

In December 1994, Mathews left office and practiced law in Nashville, Tennessee.


Mathews died of brain cancer on May 9, 2014 at a hospice in Nashville.[7] He was survived by his wife, Pat, and two sons. A third son, Richard Mathews, preceded him in death.[2]


  • United States Congress. "Harlan Mathews (id: M000236)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • Tennessee Blue Book, 2001-02 Edition
  1. ^ "States in the Senate".
  2. ^ a b c Cass, Michael (May 9, 2014). "Former U.S. Sen. and Deputy Gov. Harlan Mathews dies". The Tennessean. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Langsdon, Phillip (2000). Tennessee: A Political History. Hillsboro Press. ISBN 978-1577361251.
  4. ^ Tennessee Blue Book 1987-1988. Nashville, Tennessee: Secretary of State. 1987. pp. v.
  5. ^ a b c d Harlan Mathews, State Treasurer, Tennessee Blue Book 1975-1978
  6. ^ "Gore's Senate replacement named". December 29, 1992.
  7. ^ CAVENDISH, Steve (May 9, 2014). "Former Senator Harlan Mathews Dies at 87". Retrieved 2014.

External links

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Al Gore
U.S. senator (Class 2) from Tennessee
Served alongside: Jim Sasser
Succeeded by
Fred Thompson

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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