Senate

Former Sen. John Byrd Jr. Dead at 98

Democrat turned independent who once preached segregation

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RICHMOND, Va. — Former Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr., the Democrat-turned-independent who began his career as a staunch segregationist and preached fiscal restraint in Washington long before it became fashionable, has died. He was 98.

Byrd's son, Tom Byrd, is president and publisher of The Winchester Star, which first reported the death. Tom Byrd's office confirmed that the former senator died Tuesday.

Byrd served 17 years in the U.S. Senate, replacing his powerful father, Harry Flood Byrd, a U.S. senator from 1933 until failing health forced him to retire in late 1965. Gov. Albertis Harrison appointed the younger Byrd, a longtime state senator who, like his father, supported segregation.