Austin, TX

Longtime Top Republican Dies

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Photo byDavid Bohrer via Public Domain

Harry Whittington, a longtime Republican and attorney from Texas who was involved in the national incident with Dick Cheney that made headlines after the vice president accidentally shot someone while hunting, has reportedly died at the age of 95.

Whittington reportedly died over the weekend while with his family in Austin, Texas, according to family friend Karl Rove. His death followed a brief illness, according to the Texas Tribune, citing his family.

While Whittington became known to most Americans as a result of the incident where Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot him during a hunting trip, before that he was a top Republican strategist.

In Texas, Whittington helped grow the Republican Party to new heights. He began in the '60s, working to help John Tower run for U.S. Senate, while later helping George W. Bush on his bid for Congress, a race that he lost.

In the 1980s, he was appointed to oversee the state's Board of Corrections, which had overseen a broken state prison system that had been declared unconstitutional due to its harsh conditions and poor treatment of inmates. Whittington helped to change that, bringing in better medical care for inmates and especially promoting better care of inmates that had mental disabilities.

It is unfortunate, according to Rove, that his friend will only be remembered by many for that incident with Cheney, which dominated headlines and was fodder for late-night show hosts.

Rove said Whittington was not only an ally to the community but also “an enormous source of good counsel and mentorship to dozens."

“He was an extraordinary human being, and to be remembered as being the victim of a hunting accident sort of gripes me,” Rove said to the Associated Press.

The incident left Whittington in the hospital for around a week, but when he recovered he expressed remorse for Cheney, calling the incident an accident and that he was “deeply sorry for everything” Cheney and his family had to deal with.

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