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James Miller Tunnell (August 2, 1879 - November 14, 1957) was an American teacher, lawyer and politician from Georgetown, in Sussex County, Delaware. He was a member of the Democratic Party, and served as U.S. Senator from Delaware.

Early life and family

Tunnell was born in Clarkville, near Millville, Delaware. He attended the public schools and graduated in 1900 from Franklin College, now combined with Muskingum College at New Concordmarker, Ohio.

Professional and political career

Tunnell taught in the public schools, eventually becoming principal of the schools at Frankfordmarker, Selbyvillemarker and Ocean Viewmarker, Delaware. Meanwhile he studied the law, was admitted to the Bar in 1907 and began a practice in Georgetown, Delaware. He was president of the Georgetown Board of Education from 1919 until 1932. Tunnell was also a banker and owned and operated a number of farms in Sussex Countymarker, Delaware.

Tunnel first ran for a seat in the United States Senate in 1924, but was defeated by Republican T. Coleman du Pont, a former Senator. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1940, this time defeating the incumbent Republican Senator John G. Townsend, Jr. During this term, he served with the Democratic majority in the 77th, 78th, and 79th Congress. He was chairman of the Committee on Pensions in the 78th and 79th Congress. Tunnel lost his bid for a second term in 1946 to Republican John J. Williams from Millsboro, Delaware. He served from January 3, 1941, to January 3, 1947, during the administrations of U.S. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.

Death and legacy

Tunnell died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is buried in the Blackwater Church Cemetery, near Clarksville, Sussex County, Delaware.


Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1st. U.S. Senators are popularly elected and take office January 3rd for a six year term.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
U.S. Senator Legislature Washingtonmarker January 3, 1941 January 3, 1947

United States Congress service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1941-1943 77th U.S. Senate Democratic Franklin D. Roosevelt class 1
1943-1945 78th U.S. Senate Democratic Franklin D. Roosevelt class 1
1945-1947 79th U.S. Senate Democratic Franklin D. Roosevelt

Harry S. Truman
class 1

Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1924 U.S. Senator James M. Tunnell Democratic 36,085 41% T. Coleman du Pont Republican 52,731 59%
1940 U.S. Senator James M. Tunnell Democratic 68,294 51% John G. Townsend, Jr. Republican 63,799 47%
1946 U.S. Senator James M. Tunnell Democratic 50,910 45% John J. Williams Republican 62,603 55%



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