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Robin Leo Beard Jr.
Member of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1983
Preceded by William R. Anderson
Succeeded by Don Sundquist (Redistricting)
Personal details
Born (1939-08-21)August 21, 1939
Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
Died June 16, 2007(2007-06-16) (aged 67)
Isle of Palms, South Carolina, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Catherine Beard
Alma mater Vanderbilt University

Robin Leo Beard Jr. (August 21, 1939 – June 16, 2007) was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Tennessee's 6th congressional district, who served from 1973 to 1983.

Early life[]

Beard was born in Knoxville, Tennessee.[1] He was educated at Montgomery Bell Academy and graduated from Vanderbilt University,[2] where he was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.[1] He was a former colonel in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.[2]

Political career[]

In 1970, Beard was appointed Tennessee personnel commissioner by newly elected Republican Governor Winfield Dunn.[citation needed] In 1972, he entered the GOP primary for the newly reconfigured 6th Congressional District.[2] The district had been significantly redrawn by the state legislature, which shifted several Republican-trending portions near Memphis into the Sixth and removed several solidly Democratic areas.[citation needed]

In November, Beard defeated Anderson by twelve percentage points. Beard's victory was not considered an upset, given the considerably more Republican bent of the redrawn district. Beard worked this district well over the next decade, building up a large following in a district where most of the living residents had never been represented by a Republican before. However, conservative Democrats continued to hold most of the district's seats in the state legislature well into the 1980s.

Proving just how Republican this district had become at the national level, Beard was easily reelected in 1974 with 56.6 percent of the vote even as Republicans across the country were turned out of office due to anger over Watergate. In 1976, Beard faced former Senator Ross Bass, who had represented the 6th from 1955 to 1964. However, Beard turned back this challenge fairly easily, winning by almost 29 points. Despite his name recognition, Bass was unable to overcome the challenge of running in territory that he did not know and that did not know him. Beard took over 74 percent of the vote in 1978, and was unopposed in 1980.

Beard did not run for a sixth term in the 1982 elections, opting instead to run for the Republican nomination to oppose freshman Democratic Senator Jim Sasser. While Beard won the primary, he lost in a massive 20-point landslide. The Republicans would not win another statewide race until 1994, when they captured the governorship and both Senate seats.[citation needed]

Beard was appointed as a NATO deputy secretary-general in Belgium from 1984 to 1987, and from 1992 to 1995.[citation needed]

Beard later ran a Washington, D.C.-based import-export business and was at one time a resident of Alexandria, Virginia.[citation needed] Beard retired to Charleston County, South Carolina, where he later ran for a seat on the county school board in 2006 (Arthur Ravenel Jr., also a former U.S. Representative, ran successfully in the race.)[citation needed]


Beard died from a brain tumor in Isle of Palms, South Carolina.[3][4] His funeral was held at the Huguenot Church in Charleston, South Carolina.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Robin Beard Jr.". The Post and Courer. June 19, 2007. Retrieved March 12, 2018. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Wood, E. Thomas; Whitehouse, Ken (June 20, 2007). "Remembering Robin Beard". The Nashville Post. Retrieved March 12, 2018. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Smith, Allison (June 19, 2007). "Former U.S. Rep. Robin Leo Beard Jr. dies at 67". The Tennessean. Retrieved March 12, 2018. 
  4. Waldo, Tenisha (June 17, 2007). "Former Congressman Beard dies at age 67". The Post and Courier. Archived from the original on December 3, 2007. Retrieved March 12, 2018. 

External links[]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William R. Anderson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Albert Arnold Gore, Jr.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bill Brock
Republican nominee for United States Senator from Tennessee
(Class 1)

Succeeded by
Bill Andersen

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