Politics & Government

Republican U.S. House pioneer Young dies at 96

Former U.S. Rep. Ed Young, R-Florence, is seen during an Honor Flight to the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Former U.S. Rep. Ed Young, R-Florence, is seen during an Honor Flight to the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. File/Florence Morning News

Former U.S. Rep. Ed Young of Florence died at his home late Tuesday.

Young, 96, was one of South Carolina’s first Republicans to win a U.S. House seat in the 20th century. He served a term in the S.C. House in the late 1950s and a term in the U.S. House in the early 1970s, defeating Democrat John Jenrette in 1972, who had upset a longtime incumbent in a primary.

At the time, Young was only the third S.C. Republican elected to the U.S. House in the 1900s, following the Reconstruction era. In 2016, Republicans won six of South Carolina’s seven congressional districts.

Young also was the GOP’s nominee for governor in 1978, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, noted in a statement.

“South Carolina has lost one of her favorite sons with the passing of Congressman Ed Young,” Graham said. “He was one of the most dedicated public servants I’ve met and epitomized a South Carolina gentleman.”

Young, a farmer, also was the host of a local radio program, “The Sunday School Hour,” that he helped start in 1957. Young was a fighter pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He was a squadron commander and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with nine Oak Leaf Clusters for his Pacific Theater service.

“No more sincere man served in politics than Congressman Ed Young,” said former U.S. Rep. John Napier, R-S.C., who ran against Young in 1980, winning the GOP primary for the 6th District seat.

“Ed ... was, indeed, a part of ‘The Greatest Generation’ and embodied all its best attributes.” said Napier, 69, a lawyer who lives on Pawleys Island. “I admired him tremendously.”

The Associated Press and staff contributed

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