William Purtell

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William Arthur Purtell
William Arthur Purtell.jpg
Former U.S. Senator from Connecticut
From: January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1959
Predecessor William Benton
Successor Thomas J. Dodd
Former U.S. Senator from Connecticut
From: August 29, 1952 – November 4, 1952
Predecessor Brien McMahon
Successor Prescott Bush
Party Republican
Spouse(s) Katherine Elizabeth Cassidy
Military Service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Corporal
Battles/wars World War I

William Arthur Purtell (May 6, 1897 – May 31, 1978) was a Connecticut Republican who served in the United States Senate from the state during the 1950s.

U.S. Senate

Following the death of incumbent senator Brien McMahon in 1952, Purtell was appointed by governor John Davis Lodge as an interim to the Class III seat. He was simultaneously running for the state's Class I Senate seat, and won the general election over incumbent Democrat William Benton by eight percentage points.[1]

Purtell was one of only twenty-two Republicans (including Barry Goldwater, Everett Dirksen, Styles Bridges, and Bourke Hickenlooper) who voted against the censure of Joseph McCarthy,[2] a Wisconsin senator who exposed communist infiltration of the United States government.

Purtell strongly supported the policies of President Dwight Eisenhower during his Senate tenure.[3] He backed an amendment in labor laws to make discrimination by employers an unfair practice[3] and voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1957,[4] opposing measures to weaken the legislation.[5][6][7]

He was defeated for re-election in 1958, losing by fifteen percentage points to Democrat Thomas J. Dodd,[8] the father of future U.S. senator Christopher Dodd. During the campaign, Dodd asserted that Purtell's conservatism "makes [Robert Taft] look like a left‐wing New Dealer.[3]

Sen. Purtell was absent for 4% of all roll call votes in his tenure.[9]


We have the finest country, the finest system of society and the finest government in the world.[3]

See also


External links

  • Profile at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress