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Rufus Cecil Holman (October 14, 1877-November 27, 1959) was an American politician and businessman in the state of Oregonmarker. A Republican and native Oregonian, he served as United States Senator for a single term during World War II. He previously had been the state treasurer and served on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners.

Early life

Rufus Holman was born Portland, Oregonmarker, on October 14, 1877. There he received his education in the public schools and became a teacher in 1896. After leaving teaching in 1898, he worked in various fields from farming and operating a steamboat, to pursuits related to the accounting field until 1910. That year Holman began making record keeping books and paper boxes in Portland. He then worked in the cold storage business and was active in civic affairs.


Holman won his first election to political office in 1914, when he was elected to the Multnomah Countymarker Board of Commissioners, where he served two four-year terms (1914-1922). In 1931, Oregon Governor Julius L. Meier appointed him as State Treasurer after Thomas B. Kay died in office. Holman began in office on May 1, 1931, winning election to a full four-year term in 1932, and winning re-election in 1936. He resigned from the office in 1938, leaving on December 27, 1938.

Although a strong conservative on most issues, he was concerned about the environment long before it was a publicized issue. In 1937, he won publicity when he demonstrated the polluted state of the Willamette River by briefly holding a cage of salmon in the water, then quickly pulling them out dying to a shocked audience. In 1938, he was elected to the United States Senate. As Senator, he was critical of the foreign policy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, although he supported World War II, and was identified as an isolationist. He also denounced organized labor and supported the detainment of Japanese citizens. He was defeated in the Republican primary in 1944 by Wayne L. Morse, who was a progressive and internationalist.

Later life

After his defeat, he returned to private life and never sought public office again. Holman returned to managing the Portland Paper Box Company in Portland, and returned to his farm near Molalla, Oregonmarker. Rufus Cecil Holman died on November 27, 1959, in his home town of Portland. He was buried at River View Cemeterymarker in Portland.

Electoral History

Republican Primary - May 15, 1936
Candidate Name Votes
Rufus C. Holman 90,215
W.E. Burke 54,246
Write-in 103

General - May 15, 1936
Candidate Name Votes
Rufus C. Holman (R) 206,233
U.S. Burt (D) 161,073
Don Swetland (I) 9,964


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