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John Bayne Breckinridge
Member of the United States House of Representatives

In office
January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1979
Preceded by William P. Curlin, Jr.
Succeeded by Larry Hopkins
38th & 40th Attorney General of Kentucky

In office
Preceded by Robert F. Matthews, Jr.
Succeeded by Ed W. Hancock

In office
Preceded by Jo M. Ferguson
Succeeded by Robert F. Matthews, Jr.
Personal details
Born November 29, 1913
Washington, D.C.
Died July 29, 1979(1979-07-29) (aged 65)
Lexington, Kentucky
Resting place Lexington Cemetery
Political party Democratic
Parents Scott Dudley Breckinridge, Sr. & Gertrude Ashby Bayne

John Bayne Breckinridge (November 29, 1913 – July 29, 1979) was an American politician, a Democrat who served as Attorney General of Kentucky twice and also served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Kentucky.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Breckinridge was born in the District of Columbia and received his bachelors and law degrees from the University of Kentucky. He was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1940 and practiced law in Lexington, Kentucky. He worked in the Anti-Trust Division of the United States Department of Justice in 1940-1941 and served in United States Army during World War II, 1941–1946, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Political career[edit | edit source]

Breckinridge was twice elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives and served there from 1956 to 1960.

Breckinridge was elected Attorney General of Kentucky in 1959 when Bert T. Combs led the Democratic ticket to victory. He served his first term in that office in 1960–1964. In that first term Breckinridge served on the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1960. Under state law at that time Breckinridge could not run for a second consecutive term as attorney general. He ran that year for Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky but lost in the Democratic primary to Harry Lee Waterfield. After that defeat Breckinridge returned to his law practice and began planning for a return to public office.

Breckinridge was elected to a second, non-consecutive term as Attorney General of Kentucky in 1967. Breckinridge won the office although the Republican ticket, led by Louie B. Nunn, won the governorship and the office of secretary of state. Breckinridge served his second term as Attorney General of Kentucky from 1968 to 1972. As his second term wound down, Breckinridge again ran for lieutenant governor in 1971 but lost again in the Democratic primary, this time to the Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives Julian Carroll.

In 1972 Breckinridge was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Kentucky's Sixth Congressional District (Lexington and the central Bluegrass). He defeated Republican Laban P. Jackson for the seat. He was re-elected in 1974 and 1976 and served in the House from January 3, 1973, through January 3, 1979. Breckinridge ran for a fourth term in the House in 1978 but was defeated in the Democratic primary by Tom Easterly, who in turn lost the seat to Republican Larry Hopkins.

After his defeat Breckinridge returned to the practice of law in Lexington, Kentucky, where he died less than a year later on July 29, 1979. His ashes were interred at Lexington Cemetery.

Legacy[edit | edit source]

As a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives and the United States House of Representatives, Breckinridge was regarded as an independent moderate.

John B. Breckinridge hailed from the politically famous Breckinridge family. He was the great-great-grandson of John Breckinridge, who had served as the second Attorney General of Kentucky and in the Kentucky House of Representatives and who also served as a member of the United States Senate and as Attorney General of the United States. John B. Breckinridge was also the great-nephew of William Campbell Preston Breckinridge who also represented Kentucky in the United States House of Representatives.

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William P. Curlin, Jr.
U.S. Representative from Kentucky's 6th congressional district
January 3, 1973-January 3, 1979
Succeeded by
Larry Hopkins
Legal offices
Preceded by
Jo M. Ferguson
Attorney General of Kentucky
Succeeded by
Robert F. Matthews, Jr.
Preceded by
Robert F. Matthews, Jr.
Attorney General of Kentucky
Succeeded by
Ed W. Hancock

References[edit | edit source]

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