|United States Senator
from South Carolina
November 8, 1966 – January 3, 2005
|Preceded by||Donald Russell|
|Succeeded by||Jim DeMint|
|Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina|
January 18, 1955 – January 20, 1959
|Preceded by||George Timmerman|
|Succeeded by||Burnet Maybank|
|Governor of South Carolina|
January 20, 1959 – January 15, 1963
|Preceded by||George Timmerman|
|Succeeded by||Donald S. Russell|
|Born||Ernest Frederick Hollings
January 1, 1922
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
|Political party||Democratic Party|
Ernest Hollings III
|Alma mater||The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina
University of South Carolina School of Law
Ernest Frederick "Fritz" Hollings (born January 1, 1922) is an American politician. Hollings served as a Democratic United States Senator from South Carolina from 1966 to 2005, as well as the 106th Governor of South Carolina (1959–1963) and the 77th Lieutenant Governor (1955–1959). He served 38 years and 55 days in the Senate, which makes him the 8th-longest-serving Senator in history.
Following the death of John Glenn in December 2016, Hollings became the oldest living former United States senator.
Governor of South Carolina
As governor of South Carolina from January 20, 1959 to January 15, 1963, Hollings worked to improve the state's educational system, helping to bring more industry and employment opportunities to the state. His term in office saw the establishment of the state's technical education system and its educational television network. He also called for and achieved significant increases in teachers' salaries, bringing them closer to the regional average. At the 1961 Governor's Conference on Business, Industry, Education and Agriculture in Columbia, S.C., he declared, "Today, in our complex society, education is the cornerstone upon which economic development must be built--and prosperity assured."
He tried to win the Democratic nomination for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1962 but lost to incumbent Olin D. Johnston.
For 36 years (until January 2003), he served alongside Republican Strom Thurmond, making them the longest-serving Senate duo ever. This made him the longest-serving junior senator ever, even though he had more seniority than all but a few of his colleagues. Thurmond and Hollings generally had a good relationship despite their sometimes sharp philosophical differences, and frequently collaborated on legislation and projects to benefit South Carolina. Only Thurmond, Robert Byrd, Ted Kennedy, Daniel Inouye, Carl Hayden, John Stennis and Ted Stevens served longer in the Senate than Hollings.
Hollings remained very popular in South Carolina over the years, even as the state became increasingly friendly to Republicans at the national level. In his first three bids for a full term, he never dropped below 60 percent of the vote. In the 1992 election, however, he faced an unexpectedly close race against former Congressman Tommy Hartnett in what was otherwise a very good year for Democrats nationally. Hartnett had represented the Charleston area in Congress from 1981 to 1987, thus making him Hollings' congressman. His appeal in the Lowcountry — traditionally a swing region at the state level — enabled him to hold Hollings to only 50 percent of the vote.
In his last Senate race in 1998, Hollings faced Republican congressman Bob Inglis. Hollings was re-elected 52%-45%.
Hollings was married to Martha Patricia Salley until they divorced. Then he was married to Rita Liddy from 1971 until her death in 2012. He had four children with Patricia. He now lives in Charleston, South Carolina.
Images for kids
The Hollings Judicial Center at 83 Meeting Street in downtown Charleston is named for the former governor and senator.
Ernest Hollings Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.