| United States Senator |
January 3, 1989 –January 3, 2001
|Preceded by||Daniel J. Evans|
|Succeeded by||Maria Cantwell|
January 3, 1981 –January 3, 1987
|Preceded by||Warren Magnuson|
|Succeeded by||Brock Adams|
|14th Attorney General of Washington|
January 15, 1969 –January 1, 1981
|Governor|| Daniel J. Evans |
Dixy Lee Ray
|Preceded by||John O'Connell|
|Succeeded by||Ken Eikenberry|
|Majority Leader of the Washington House of Representatives|
January 9, 1967 –January 13, 1969
|Preceded by||John L. O'Brien|
|Succeeded by||Stewart Bledsoe|
|Member of the WashingtonHouseofRepresentatives |
from the 46th district
January 12, 1959 –January 13, 1969
|Preceded by||Alfred E. Leland|
|Succeeded by||George W. Scott|
Thomas Slade Gorton III
January 8, 1928
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||August 19, 2020 92) (aged|
Clyde Hill, Washington, U.S.
(m. 1958;died 2013)
|Relatives||Nathaniel M. Gorton (brother)|
|Education|| Dartmouth College (BA)|
Columbia University (JD)
|Branch/service|| United States Army |
United States Air Force
|Years of service||1945–1946 (Army)|
1953–1956 (Air Force)
|Unit||United States Air Force Reserve|
Thomas Slade Gorton III (January 8, 1928 – August 19, 2020) was an American lawyer and politician who served as a United States Senator from Washington from 1981 to 1987 and again from 1989 until 2001. A member of the Republican Party, he held both of the state's U.S. Senate seats in his career and was narrowly defeated for reelection twice, first in 1986 by Brock Adams and again in 2000 by Maria Cantwell following a recount. As of 2021, he was the last Republican U.S. Senator from Washington from both Senate seats.
Gorton was born in Chicago, Illinois, on January 8, 1928, and raised in the suburb of Evanston, the son of Ruth (Israel) and Thomas Slade Gorton, Jr., descendant of one of the founders of the companies that would become Gorton's of Gloucester, and himself the founder that year of Slade Gorton & Co., another fish supplier. [ citation needed ]His younger brother is Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He attended and graduated from Dartmouth College and subsequently from Columbia Law School. Gorton served in the United States Army from 1945 to 1946 and the United States Air Force from 1953 until 1956. He continued to serve in the Air Force Reserve Command until 1980 when he retired as a colonel.
Gorton practiced law and entered politics in 1958, being elected to the Washington House of Representatives, in which he served from 1959 until 1969, becoming one of its highest-ranking members.He then served as Attorney General of Washington from 1969 until he entered the United States Senate in 1981. During his three terms as attorney general, Gorton was recognized for taking the unusual step of appearing personally to argue the state's positions before the Supreme Court of the United States, and for prevailing in those efforts.
In 1970, Slade sued Major League Baseball after the loss of the Seattle Pilots, and this eventually led to the creation of the Seattle Mariners.
In 1980, Gorton defeated longtime incumbent U.S. Senator and state legend Warren Magnuson by a 54% to 46% margin.
Gorton was defeated by former Congressman and Carter administration Transportation Secretary Brock Adams.
Gorton ran for the state's other Senate seat, which was being vacated by political ally Dan Evans, in 1988 and won, defeating liberal Congressman Mike Lowry by a narrow margin.
In the Senate, Gorton had a moderate-to-conservative voting record, and was derided for what some perceived as strong hostility towards Indian tribes.His reelection strategy centered on running up high vote totals in areas outside of left-leaning King County (home to Seattle).
In 1994, Gorton repeated the process, defeating then-King County Councilman Ron Sims by 56% to 44%.He was an influential member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee as he was the only member of the committee during his tenure to have reached a senior command rank in the uniformed services (USAF).
Gorton campaigned in Oregon for Gordon Smith and his successful 1996 Senate run.
In 1999, Gorton was among ten Republican senators who voted against the charge of perjury during Clinton's impeachment, although he voted for Clinton's conviction on the charge of obstruction of justice.
In 2000, Democrat Maria Cantwell turned his "it's time for a change" strategy against him and won by 2,229 votes.
Furthermore, Washington's Indian tribes strongly opposed Gorton in 2000 because he consistently tried to weaken Indian sovereignty while in the Senate.
Twice during his tenure in the Senate, Gorton sat at the Candy Desk.
In 2002, Gorton became a member of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (popularly known as the "9/11 Commission") and the commission issued its final report in 2004.
In 2005, Gorton became the chairman of the center-right Constitutional Law PAC, a political action committee formed to help elect candidates to the Washington State Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.
Gorton was an advisory board member for the Partnership for a Secure America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recreating the bipartisan center in American national security and foreign policy. Gorton also served as a Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Gorton served on the board of trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, which is a museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution.
Gorton represented the city of Seattle in a lawsuit against Clay Bennett to prevent the relocation of the Seattle SuperSonics basketball franchise, in accordance to a contract that would keep the team in KeyArena until 2010. The city settled with Bennett, allowing him to move the team to Oklahoma City for $45 million with the possibility for another $30 million.
In 2010, the National Bureau of Asian Research founded the Slade Gorton International Policy Center. The Gorton Center is a policy research center, with three focus areas: policy research, fellowship and internship programs, and the Gorton History Program (archives).In 2013 the Gorton Center was the secretariat for the ‘Commission on The Theft of American Intellectual Property’, in which Gorton was a commissioner. Gorton is also a counselor at the National Bureau of Asian Research.
In 2012, Gorton was appointed to the board of directors of Clearwire, a wireless data services provider.
Gorton was a member of the board of the Discovery Institute, notable for its advocacy of the pseudoscience of intelligent design.
Gorton was also of counsel at K&L Gates LLP.
Gorton opposed the candidacy of Donald Trump for President of the United States in 2016, instead writing in Independent candidate Evan McMullin.He later supported the impeachment of President Trump and urged other Republicans to join him.
He married Sally Clark Gorton on June 28, 1958.Sally died in 2013. Gorton died after a brief illness at the home of his daughter in the Seattle suburb of Clyde Hill on August 19, 2020, at the age of 92.
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