Bill Brock

Bill Brock
18th United States Secretary of Labor
In office
April 29, 1985  October 31, 1987
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Raym Donovan
Succeeded by Ann McLaughlin
8th United States Trade Representative
In office
January 23, 1981  April 29, 1985
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Reubin Askew
Succeeded by Clay Yeutter
Chair of the Republican National Committee
In office
January 14, 1977  January 20, 1981
Preceded by Mary Louise Smith
Succeeded by Dick Richards
United States Senator
from Tennessee
In office
January 3, 1971  January 3, 1977
Preceded by Al Gore
Succeeded by Jim Sasser
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1963  January 3, 1971
Preceded by James Frazier
Succeeded by LaMar Baker
Personal details
Born William Emerson Brock III
(1930-11-23) November 23, 1930
Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater Washington and Lee University
Religion Presbyterianism
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1953–1956

William Emerson "Bill" Brock III (born November 23, 1930) is a former Republican United States senator from Tennessee, having served from 1971 to 1977. He is the grandson of William Emerson Brock I, who was a Democratic U.S. senator from Tennessee from 1929 to 1931.

Early life and career

Brock was a native of Chattanooga, where his family owned a well-known candy company.[1] He is a 1949 graduate of McCallie School and a 1953 graduate of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, in 1953 and subsequently served in the U.S. Navy until 1956. He then worked in his family's candy business. Brock had been reared as a Democrat, but became a Republican in the 1950s. In 1962, he was elected to Congress from Tennessee's 3rd congressional district, based in Chattanooga. The 3rd had long been the only Democratic outpost in traditionally heavily Republican East Tennessee; indeed, Brock's victory ended 40 years of Democratic control in the district.

United States Senator

Brock served four terms in the House and then won the Republican nomination to face three-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Albert Gore Sr. in 1970, defeating country singer Tex Ritter in the primary. Brock's campaign was successfully able to make an issue of Gore's friendship with the Kennedy family and Gore's voting record, which was somewhat liberal by Southern standards, and defeated him.

While in the Senate, Brock was a darling of the conservative movement but was less than overwhelmingly popular at home; his personality was somewhat distant by the standards of most politicians. He was considered vulnerable in the 1976 election and several prominent Democrats ran in the 1976 Democratic Senate primary for the right to challenge him. The most prominent and best-known name, at least initially, was probably 1970 gubernatorial nominee John Jay Hooker; somewhat surprisingly to most observers, the winner of the primary was Jim Sasser, who had managed Gore's 1970 reelection campaign.

Sasser was able to exploit lingering resentment of the Watergate scandal, which had concluded only about two years earlier. However his most effective campaign strategy was to emphasize how the affluent Brock, through skillful use of the tax code by his accountants, had been able to pay less than $2,000 in income taxes the previous year; an amount considerably less than that paid by many Tennesseans of far more modest means. Sasser was also aided by the popularity of Democratic Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter in Tennessee as he would win the state by a double-digit margin. Although he started with a 30-point lead in polls over Sasser, Brock would lose his re-election bid by a 47%–52% margin.[2]

Prior to his Senate re-election run, Brock was among those considered to replace Nelson Rockefeller as President Gerald Ford's running mate in the 1976 election.[3][4]

Post Senate career

The official portrait of William E. Brock hangs in the Department of Labor

After leaving the Senate, Brock became the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, a position he held from 1977 to 1981. Upon the election of Ronald Reagan as U.S. president, Brock was appointed U.S. Trade Representative, a position he maintained until 1985 when he was made Secretary of Labor.

Brock resigned his cabinet post in late 1987 to serve as the campaign manager for Senator Bob Dole's presidential campaign. Dole, the runner up to Vice President George Bush, was seen as a micro-manager who needed a strong personality like Brock to guide his campaign. Brock's late start in the Fall of 1987 left little time to help find an avenue to cut into Bush's substantial lead in national polls. Additionally, many viewed Brock as an imperious and inadequate manager who badly misspent campaign funds- largely on national headquarters staff- leaving Dole without adequate money for a Super Tuesday media buy. Dole and Brock had a public falling out, and Brock publicly fired two of Dole's favored consultants, ordering them off of the campaign plane. Dole dropped out of the race in late March 1988 after losing key primaries in New Hampshire, the South and Illinois. Brock became a consultant in the Washington, D.C., area. By this point, he had become a legal resident of Maryland. In 1994 he won the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Maryland over future convict Ruthann Aron, but was soundly defeated (41%–59%) in the general election by Democratic incumbent Paul Sarbanes.

Brock is a member of the ReFormers Caucus of Issue One.[5] He is currently a resident of Annapolis, Maryland.


  1. Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture: Brock Candy Company
  2. "From an Irish Pat to a Dixy Lee". Time (magazine). November 15, 1976. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  3. "Again, Connally for Veep?". Time (magazine). August 2, 1976. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  4. United Press International, Ford Lists Possible 1976 Running Mates, Bangor Daily News, January 23, 1976

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
James Frazier
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
LaMar Baker
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dan Kuykendall
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Tennessee
(Class 1)

1970, 1976
Succeeded by
Robin Beard
Preceded by
Peter Dominick
Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee
Succeeded by
Ted Stevens
Preceded by
Mary Louise Smith
Chair of the Republican National Committee
Succeeded by
Dick Richards
Preceded by
Alan Keyes
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Maryland
(Class 1)

Succeeded by
Paul Rappaport
United States Senate
Preceded by
Al Gore
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Tennessee
Served alongside: Howard Baker
Succeeded by
Jim Sasser
Political offices
Preceded by
Reubin Askew
United States Trade Representative
Succeeded by
Clay Yeutter
Preceded by
Raym Donovan
United States Secretary of Labor
Succeeded by
Ann McLaughlin
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