Bill Gunter

Bill Gunter
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1973 - January 3, 1975
Preceded by Louis Frey Jr.
Succeeded by Richard Kelly
Member of the Florida Senate
In office
Personal details
Born (1934-07-16) July 16, 1934
Jacksonville, Florida
Political party Democratic

William Dawson "Bill" Gunter Jr. (born July 16, 1934) is an American politician from the state of Florida.

Early life and education

Gunter was born in Jacksonville in 1934. He attended public schools in Live Oak and received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (B.S.A.) from the University of Florida in 1956. While a student at Florida, he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity (Florida Upsilon chapter). Gunter briefly attended the University of Georgia in 1957 and served in the United States Army from 1957 to 1958.

Political career

He was a member of the Florida State Senate in 1966. He was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives as the member from Florida's 5th congressional district in the 1972 election, but served only a single term. His voting record in the 93rd Congress was generally moderate.

Gunter unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 1974, but lost the primary to Richard Bernard Stone. He was elected Florida State Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner in 1976 and served in this post until 1988.

In 1980, Gunter ran again for U.S. Senate, defeating incumbent Senator Stone in the Democratic primary.[1] He then faced the Republican nominee Paula Hawkins, who had been the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor (as the running mate of Jack Eckerd) in the 1978 gubernatorial election. Gunter lost to Hawkins, who won 51.7 percent of the vote to Gunter's 48.3 percent. Gunter's loss was accompanied by the Republican pickup of 11 other seats, which produced a Republican majority in the Senate for the first time since 1954. This was due to Reagan's coattails effect; Ronald Reagan won a landslide victory over incumbent President Jimmy Carter in the presidential election the same year.

Gunter made a final Senate bid in 1988, narrowly losing the Democratic nomination to Buddy MacKay.


In recent years, Gunter has worked at Rogers, Gunter, Vaughn, a Tallahassee-based insurance agency and been active in related trade associations and lobbying for the industry.


  1. Ryan, Robert (8 October 1980). "Hawkins, Gunter see 'heated' battle". Boca Raton News. p. 1. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Louis Frey Jr.
United States Representative for Florida's 5th congressional district
Succeeded by
Richard Kelly
Party political offices
Preceded by
Richard Stone
Democratic Party nominee for United States Senator from Florida
(Class 3)

Succeeded by
Bob Graham
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