Walter Darlington “Dee” Huddleston was born on April 15, 1926, in Burkesville and died on October 16, 2018.
He was an American politician.
Walter Darlington “Dee” Huddleston was a Democrat from Kentucky.
He represented the state in the United States Senate from 1973 until 1985.
Upon his graduation from high school, he enlisted in the United States Army and served as a tank gunner in Europe during and after World War II from 1944 to 1946.
Huddleston attended the University of Kentucky in Lexington, from which he graduated in 1949.
During 1947, Walter married Martha Jean Pearce (1929–2003).
Walter Dee Huddleston was a manager of radio stations in Kentucky from 1949 to 1972.
Huddleston entered politics in 1964 when he was elected to the Kentucky State Senate. He was elected as a state senator in 1965, serving until 1972; for a time, he was the body’s majority leader.
He ran for the U.S. Senate seat which was being vacated by retiring Republican John Sherman Cooper. During 1972,
Walter Dee Huddleston narrowly defeated Republican Louie B. Nunn, a recent former governor, receiving a 51% to 48% margin.
However, he was reelected in 1978 with 61 percent of the vote over the former Republican state Representative Louie R. Guenthner, Jr., of Louisville.
During 1984, Huddleston’s Republican opponent was Jefferson County (Louisville) Judge-Executive Mitch McConnell. Then, McConnell gained political traction with a series of television campaign ads making sport of Huddleston’s attendance record in the Senate.
Following that Mitch McConnell accused him of putting “his private speaking engagements ahead of his Senate responsibilities.”
In spite of the odds, the race was very close, with McConnell only defeating Walter Dee Huddleston when the last returns came in (49.9%-to-49.5%).
Walter Dee Huddleston was known as a member of the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, as was typical of party members from Kentucky.
During the late 1980s, Huddleston was the head of the English Language Political Action Committee (a.k.a. “El Pac”).
Walter Dee Huddleston served on the National Board of Advisors of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
When he left Senate, Walter relocated to Elizabethtown, the seat of Hardin County in west central Kentucky.
He announced he was stepping down as Chairman of First Financial Service Corporation during 2012.
He died at 92 years old.