Don Sundquist was a high-profile politician in the State of Tennessee for two decades. A member of the Republican party, Sundquist was a member of the United States House of Representatives. And later, the governor of Tennessee.

During the course of his political career, he was able to notch several victories. But as time went on, things started to go rather sideways for Sundquist. His popularity would take a significant plummet. But at the moment, many are preferring to pay tribute to him.

Passed away on August 27, 2023

Don Sundquist has died at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis.

He was 87. An exact cause of death was not immediately released to the public. He apparently had experienced a brief illness and recently had undergone surgery.

Current Tennessee Governor Bill Lee called Sundquist "a principled statesman" in a release. Lamar Alexander said he was "a loyal friend and a man with a good heart." Alexander is a former Tennessee governor, U.S. secretary of education and prominent U.S. senator.

Sundquist had been a campaign organizer for Arizona U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater's 1964 Presidential bid. He later served as chairman of the Young Republicans. As well as of the Shelby County, Tennessee party chapter. In 1980, he managed U.S. Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker's campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination.

Baker did not get the nomination. But he shortly thereafter became the majority leader. Followed later by serving as White House chief of staff and U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Defeated two candidates who were later victorious

In 1982, Don Sundquist was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the 7th District of Tennessee.

Defeating the Democratic nominee, Bob Clement. Clement would later be elected from the state's 5th District. His father, Frank, had been the Tennessee governor for many years.

Sundquist won another five terms in the U.S. House. In 1994, Democratic Tennessee Governor Ned McWherter was term-limited from running again. Sundquist won the race to succeed him.

Prevailing over Democratic Nashville Mayor, and future Governor, Phil Bredesen.

In his first term, Sundquist replaced the state's unpopular Public Service Commission with the now-Tennessee Public Utility Commission. He also launched the State Department of Children's Services.

Sundquist was re-elected in a landslide in 1998. But his second term would be much more of a struggle. His tax policy proposals would be immensely polarizing, leading to major protests. In the waning days of his administration, an FBI investigation of one of Sundquist's friends became public. Much of the investigation stemmed from state no-bid contracts awarded to the friend's company.

Sundquist was never implicated in the alleged crimes, but the connection raised concerns.

The friend eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

In 2002, Sundquist was not eligible to run for another gubernatorial term. He was later Tennessee Vice Chairman of the Presidential campaign of John McCain, another Arizona U.S. senator, in 2008.

Was a native of Illinois

Don Sundquist was born in Moline in western Illinois. He went on to graduate from Augustana College in nearby Rock Island. During the Vietnam War, Sundquist was a member of the United States Navy.

As a civilian, he was hired by memorabilia manufacturer Jostens, initially working in Princeton, Illinois. The job would move him to Owatonna in southern Minnesota, followed by Shelbyville in central Tennessee. Sundquist eventually settled in Memphis, where he opened a printing business.

In 1959, Sundquist married Martha Swanson. They would have three children.