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Estes Kefauver: A Featured Biography


Senate Estes Kefauver at Microphone

Born in Tennessee in 1903, Carey Estes Kefauver first came to Capitol Hill in 1939 as a representative from Tennessee's Third Congressional District, then won a seat in 1948 to the United States Senate, where he served from 1949 until his untimely death in 1963. In the Senate, Kefauver quickly gained national attention when he chaired the Senate's Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in 1950 and 1951, a series of investigative hearings held around the nation that made pioneering use of television. By the time the hearings ended, Kefauver was a national figure, included on the Roper polling agency's list of 10 most admired men in America. National acclaim led to presidential politics, but Kefauver failed to gain the Democratic nomination in 1952 and then lost a vice-presidential bid (as running mate to Adlai Stevenson) in 1956. Reelected to a third term in 1960, Kefauver focused on issues of foreign policy and antimonopoly legislation during his final years in the Senate.