Jim Broyhill, former NC congressman, senator, dies at 95

 February 19, 2023

Sad news emerged out of North Carolina over the weekend, as it was revealed that longtime Republican Congressman Jim Broyhill died Saturday at the age of 95, as the Associated Press reports.

In addition to serving in the U.S. House of Representatives for more than two decades, Broyhill also briefly filled a vacant seat in the Senate before going down to defeat in an attempt to retain the spot.

Longtime congressman dies

The death of Broyhill was confirmed by his son, Ed, and was said to have occurred early Saturday morning.

Broyhill had been living at the Arbor Acres retirement home in Winston-Salem at the time of his death, as his son further noted, adding that the former legislator had been plagued by congestive heart failure in recent years, and the condition took a turn for the worse over the past few months.

Preceded in death by a son, Philip, Broyhill leaves behind son Ed, wife, Louise, daughter Marilyn, six grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Furniture scion-turned-lawmaker

Broyhill was part of the renowned furniture manufacturer of the same name and built a reputation as a consistent conservative who transformed the Tar Heel State into a competitive political arena from an area traditionally dominated by Democrats.

Once recounting the startlingly low number of Republicans on the ballot when he went to vote in 1948, Broyhill explained, “I was determined that I'm going to do what I could to see if we could not develop a two-party system in our state.”

Broyhill added, “And I think I had a great deal to accomplish that, but with the help and the leadership of many other people,” ultimately spending 23 years in the House, beginning in 1962.

Short-lived Senate career

It was in 1986 that Republican North Carolina Gov. Jim Martin tapped Broyhill to fill the vacancy created when Sen. John East committed suicide.

At the time, Broyhill was already looking to move to the upper chamber, and he had already prevailed in the Republican primary after it was announced that East would not seek reelection.

Though it was thought that the interim appointment would help put Broyhill over the top in his general election race against Democrat former Gov. Terry Sanford, the Republican lost narrowly, both for the right to finish the final stretch of East's term and also to serve in the Senate for the following six-year term.

Tributes pour in

As the Carolina Journal reported, it did not take long for tributes to the respected lawmaker to begin pouring in after news of his passing became known.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) stated, “Jim Broyhill was a remarkable servant leader who always delivered for our state in the halls of Congress and played an instrumental role in building the modern-day North Carolina Republican Party.”

Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) was similarly effusive in his praise of Broyhill, saying, “Serving the people of North Carolina was Jim's lifelong passion, and he will long be remembered for his dedication to constituent service. He was a friend who took time to mentor many elected leaders in our state, including myself.”

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