J. Bennett Johnston, Jr.

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John Bennett Johnston, Jr.


In office
November 14, 1972 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by Elaine S. Edwards (interim for Allen J. Ellender)
Succeeded by Mary Landrieu

Louisiana State Senator for
Caddo Parish (at-large)
In office
1968 – May 1972
Preceded by B. H. "Johnny" Rogers
Jackson Beauregard Davis

Louisiana State Representative for Caddo Parish (at-large)
In office
May 1964 – 1968
Preceded by Wellborn Jack
Succeeded by At-large delegation

Born June 10, 1932
Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Mary Gunn Johnston
Children Four children

Son-law Tim Roemer

Alma mater Washington and Lee University
United States Military Academy

Louisiana State University School of Law

Occupation Lawyer

United States Army (1956-1959)

Religion Baptist

John Bennett Johnston, Jr. (born June 10, 1932), is a lawyer/lobbyist in Washington, D.C., who served from 1972 to 1997 as a Democratic member of the United States Senate from his native Louisiana.

Prior to his Senate tenure, Johnston was from 1968 to 1972 a state senator and from 1964 to 1968 a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Shreveport in Caddo Parish. He ran unsuccessfully in the fall of 1971 for the Louisiana governorship, losing his party's nomination to then U.S. Representative Edwin Edwards of Crowley in south Louisiana.

In his first election to the U.S. Senate in 1972, Johnston challenged the incumbent Allen J. Ellender of Terrebonne Parish in the Democratic primary. Ellender died during the campaign, and Johnston easily won the party nomination and then defeated Republican Ben C. Toledano of New Orleans and former Governor John J. McKeithen, a Democrat from Caldwell Parish running as an Independent. In 1978, to gain his second term, Johnston defeated then State Representative Woody Jenkins of Baton Rouge, a strong conservative who tried to paint Johnston as an out-of-touch liberal. In 1990, Johnston defeated then State Representative David Duke of Jefferson Parish, a former figure in the Ku Klux Klan, who ran as a Republican but without the backing of the state's GOP apparatus.

Johnston served as chairman of the Senate Energy Committee during a period when energy issues dominated the nation's agenda. During his tenure, his senatorial colleagues from Louisiana were Russell Long and John Breaux. Johnston was so powerful in his position that he was able to designate Mary Landrieu, a fellow Democrat, as his successor beginning in January 1997. After defeating Jenkins in a disputed outcome, Landrieu held the Johnston seat for eighteen years until her defeat in 2014 by the Republican Bill Cassidy.

Johnston's son-in-law is former U.S. Representative Tim Roemer of Indiana.