Butler Derrick, who represented South Carolina’s 3rd District in Congress for 20 years and was one of the last of a breed of Southern Democrats who dominated the state’s political landscape for more than a century, died Monday after a seven-month battle with cancer, his former aide John Gregory has confirmed.
Derrick, whose legacy was marked by his dogged fights to save a dying textile industry, was the last Democrat to hold the seat, which Lindsey Graham won after the incumbent from Edgefield decided against seeking reelection in 1994.
The seat, which hadn’t been held by a Republican since 1876, has been in GOP hands ever since.
Derrick’s predecessor for the seat was William Jennings Bryan Dorn. Bryan Dorn’s daughter, Debbie, ran for the seat in 1994 but lost in the Democratic primary.
DERRICK, Butler Carson, Jr., a Representative from South Carolina; born in Springfield, Hampden County, Mass., September 30, 1936; attended the public schools in Mayesville, S.C., and Florence, S.C.; attended University of South Carolina, 1954-1958; LL.B., University of Georgia Law School, 1965; admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1965 and commenced practice in Edgefield; served in the South Carolina house of representatives, 1969-1974; delegate to South Carolina State Democratic conventions, 1972, 1974; delegate to Democratic National Convention, 1974; elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-fourth and to the nine succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1975-January 3, 1995); not a candidate for reelection to the One Hundred Fourth Congress.
After he left Congress, Derrick was a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP in their DC office. Derrick was diagnosed with cancer in October and died today in his Easley, SC home with his family present.
Congressman Derrick was my Congressman for the last few years of his tenure after Laurens County was redistricted into the 3rd from the 5th district (John Spratt’s seat then.) I worked for the campaign of a Republican candidate who was already declared for the 1994 race before Derrick retired. After Derrick’s retirement there were several Republicans who considered running and, despite having two other primary opponents, Graham won the August primary (delayed due to redistricting litigation if I recall correctly) handily.
My condolences to the Derrick family.
Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.
Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.
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