Former South Carolina congressman and businessman-farmer Edward L. Young of Florence passed away Wednesday at home. He was 96.

Young, a World War II veteran, won the open 6th Congressional District seat in 1972 against Democrat and state Rep. John Jenrette.

He was able to win the race based on the large Republican sweep that year attributed to President Richard Nixon's national landslide win.

Ed Young

Ed Young

Young's time in office was short-lived in the heavily Democratic Pee Dee region of the state. By 1974, the Watergate scandal had taken a toll on the Republicans and Jenrette won the seat in a rematch.

Young failed in another attempt to win the seat in 1980.

Young served in the S.C. Statehouse from 1958-60. He also was the GOP gubernatorial nominee in 1978, losing to Democrat Richard Riley.

"He died peacefully at home, the same house he was born in," his daughter Harriett Charles told WMBF News.

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Republicans consider him an early but short-lived political pioneer on the GOP's path toward becoming the majority party in the state.

"Congressman Ed Young was a pioneer for Republicans in South Carolina," S.C. GOP Chairman Matt Moore said in a statement Wednesday. "He paved the way for a generation of Republican leaders in the Pee Dee and across the state. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time."

Young was a fighter pilot during World War II. He flew 195 combat missions with the 67th Fighter Squadron, 13th Air Force, and was awarded the Air Medal with nine Oak Leaf Clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was one of the last surviving World War II fighter pilots.

On August 4, 1945, he married Harriet Gray Yergin of Gray Court. They have four daughters. Arrangements are pending.

Reach Schuyler Kropf on politics at 843-937-5551. Follow on Twitter at @skropf47.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.