Tag Archives: Estes Kefauver

The Senator in the Coonskin Hat

17 Sep

Did you know that a Tennessean tried to end gambling in Las Vegas? Estes Kefauver was born in Madisonville, Tennessee and practiced law in Chattanooga. Interested in politics, he won a seat in the House of Representatives in 1939 and became a Senator in 1949. Kefauver’s trademark was wearing a coonskin hat.

During his time in the Senate, Kefauver became chairman of the Special Committee on Organized Crime and used this seat as a platform to gain national exposure. He attacked the influence of organized crime in the casinos of Las Vegas and urged the federal government to put a stop to legalized gambling in Nevada.

In 1952, Kefauver attempted to take advantage of his nationwide fame by running for president. His campaign failed, as did a run for the vice presidency in 1956. If Estes Kefauver had succeeded in his fight against legalized gambling, then what happens in Vegas would…not be all that much.