ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Former Sen. John W. Warner of Virginia, a centrist Republican who served as Navy secretary and one of many Senate’s most influential navy specialists, has died at 94, his longtime chief of employees mentioned Wednesday.
Warner died Tuesday of coronary heart failure at dwelling in Alexandria, Virginia, together with his spouse and daughter at his aspect, Susan A. Magill mentioned.
“He was frail however had a number of spirit and was concerned till his final days,” Magill mentioned.
Warner, a courtly determine who squired celebrities and was married to Elizabeth Taylor when he was elected to the Senate in 1978, and went on to serve 5 phrases earlier than retiring from the chamber in 2008. He drew help from moderates of each main events, establishing himself within the middle of American politics.
He was a key supporter of President George W. Bush’s declaration of warfare in Iraq, and served for a time as chairman of the Senate Armed Companies Committee. He had an impartial streak that typically angered extra conservative GOP leaders. However he was vastly in style with Virginia voters.
Being the sixth of Taylor’s seven husbands didn’t harm when he ran for the Senate. The 2 had been married in 1976 and divorced in 1982. Taylor wrote later that they remained associates, however she “simply couldn’t bear the extraordinary loneliness” when he grew to become engrossed in his Senate duties.
He was succeeded in 2008 by Democrat Mark Warner — no relation — who had challenged him for the Senate in 1996 and went on to serve a time period as Virginia’s governor. After years of rivalry, the 2 grew to become good associates. Mark Warner mentioned his pal “epitomizes what it means to be a senator.”
Warner gained help from moderates in each events. The courtly senator with chiseled options and a thick shock of grey hair was so in style with Virginia voters that Democrats didn’t hassle to problem him in 2002 for his re-election to his fifth time period.
“Virginians know that I get up for what I feel is true, and I settle for the implications,” Warner mentioned in 1996.
“Virginia has misplaced an unmatched chief, and my household has misplaced an expensive pal,” mentioned Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. “As soon as I got here to the Senate, I understood much more deeply the affect of John Warner. I got here to know John McCain, Carl Levin, and so many others who served with him and attested to his integrity and outsized affect in a physique he cherished so dearly.”
Warner had been an early supporter of McCain’s marketing campaign for president, endorsing his fellow senator in February 2007.
The previous secretary of the Navy, a veteran of World Warfare II and Korea, Warner devoted most of his profession to navy issues. He misplaced his submit as Armed Companies Committee chairman in 2001 when Sen. Jim Jeffords’ departure from the GOP put Democrats in command of the Senate, however he regained it after the 2002 elections put Republicans again in cost till the 2006 elections.
Warner usually defended the Bush administration’s dealing with of the warfare in Iraq, however he additionally confirmed a willingness to buck the White Home.
After a 2007 journey to Iraq, Warner referred to as upon Bush to start out bringing troops dwelling. He summoned high Pentagon officers to hearings in regards to the Abu Ghraib jail abuse scandal and the Iraq warfare. Years earlier, he solid a vital vote denying President Reagan’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court docket, Decide Robert Bork, a favourite of conservatives.
In 2005, Warner was a part of the “Gang of 14″ — a gaggle of centrist senators who defused a showdown over judicial filibusters on Bush’s appeals courtroom nominees. That very same 12 months, Warner was the lone senator to formally object to the federal authorities stepping in on the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case.
“Larger knowledge isn’t all the time reposed within the branches of federal authorities,” he mentioned on the time. He had quietly inserted his assertion into the Congressional File hours after the measure handed the Senate on a voice vote.
Republicans nominated Warner for the Senate in 1978 after the social gathering’s first selection, Richard Obenshain, died in a aircraft crash. Warner was ridiculed by some who thought he was driving on the coattails of his then-wife, Taylor, whom he had married in late 1976.
Warner was elected by the razor-thin margin of 4,721 votes out of 1.2 million solid and was simply re-elected in 1984 and 1990.
In 1994, Warner angered conservatives by opposing GOP nominee Oliver North’s bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Charles S. Robb. Warner declared the Iran-Contra determine unfit for public workplace and backed impartial J. Marshall Coleman, who drew sufficient impartial and average GOP votes to make sure Robb’s re-election.
Steamed by what they seen as disloyalty to the social gathering, GOP conservatives tried to disclaim him a fourth time period in 1996, backing a problem by former Reagan administration price range director Jim Miller.
Miller portrayed Warner as an elitist who spent an excessive amount of time squiring stars, together with Barbara Walters. However Warner simply defeated Miller within the major, and went on to beat Democrat Mark Warner within the normal election.
John Warner mended his strained ties with the GOP by supporting the profitable campaigns of Jim Gilmore for governor in 1997 and George Allen for Robb’s Senate seat in 2000.
“I positive risked my political future, that’s for positive,” Warner mentioned in 1994. “However I’d somewhat the voters of this state do not forget that I stood on my precept. … That’s the worth of management.”
Whereas the navy was Warner’s high precedence, he additionally championed laws to toughen seat belt legal guidelines and took up an growing variety of environmental causes.
Born in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 18, 1927, Warner volunteered for the Navy at 17 and served as a third class electronics technician. He obtained an engineering diploma from Washington and Lee College in 1949.
He entered legislation faculty on the College of Virginia within the fall of 1949 however volunteered the following 12 months for the Marines, serving in Korea as a primary lieutenant and communications officer with the First Marine Air Wing.
Following Korea, he returned to legislation faculty and obtained a level from U.Va. in 1953.
He was a legislation clerk at the US Circuit Court docket of Appeals for the District of Columbia, went into non-public follow, after which served 4 years as a federal prosecutor.
In 1960, he resumed non-public follow and specialised in banking, securities and company follow. He grew to become underneath secretary of the Navy in 1969 and served as secretary of the Navy from 1972 to 1974. He was administrator of the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration from 1974 to 1976.
Warner obtained an estimated $7 million fortune within the breakup of his first marriage, to Catherine Mellon, daughter of multimillionaire Paul Mellon.
He and Taylor divorced in 1982 and he married actual property agent Jeanne Vander Myde in 2003.
Warner had three kids, Mary, Virginia and John, and was a member of the Episcopal Church.
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