Potter, Charles E. (Charles Edward), 1916-1979

Alternative names
Birth 1916-10-30
Death 1979-11-23

Biographical notes:

Republican U.S. Congressman from Lapeer, Michigan, 1946-1952; U.S. Senator, 1952-1959.

From the description of Charles E. Potter papers, 1947-1958. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34419527

Charles E. Potter was born October 30, 1916 in Lapeer, Michigan. After graduating from Eastern Michigan University in 1938, he served as administrator of the Bureau of Social Aid for Cheboygan County. He enlisted in the army in 1942 and was seriously wounded in France in 1945 where he lost both lower limbs. After his discharge from the service in 1946, Potter was engaged as a vocational rehabilitation representative for the Retraining and Reemployment Administration. He resigned in 1947 following his election as a Republican to the United States Congress from the 11th District to the Eightieth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Frederick V. Bradley. Potter was twice reelected, to the Eighty-first and Eighty-second. While in the House, he served on the Un-American Activities Committee and gained a measure of notoriety for his role in reopening hearings on alleged communist influence in Hollywood. He also called for a separate investigation into alleged communist involvement in Michigan's labor organizations.

Potter resigned from the House in 1952 when he was elected to the United States Senate defeating Democratic appointee Blair Moody who had been selected following the death of Arthur H. Vandenberg. Potter was elected for the remaining two months of Vandenberg's term and won a full six-year term in the same election. As a senator, Potter as a member of the committee chaired by Joseph McCarthy began to inquire into allegations of impropriety by the Wisconsin senator and his staff. Potter also questioned the propriety of the relationship between Eisenhower advisor Sherman Adams and Boston industrialist Bernard Goldfine. Adams eventually resigned but some believe that Eisenhower was not fully supportive of Potter in his reelection bid in 1958 when he was defeated by Philip A. Hart. Potter spent the remainder of his career running a consulting firm for American and foreign companies. He died November 23, 1979.

From the guide to the Charles E. Potter Papers, 1947-1958, (Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan)


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  • Political elections--1958
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