Oregon’s economy soared under Mr. Hatfield’s leadership as he courted trading partners in Asia and enticed technology, health care and other industries to the state. He won a second term and was seen as a rising national GOP star who was chosen to nominate then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon at the 1960 Republican National Convention. He gave the convention’s keynote address four years later.
Despite his widespread popularity, Mr. Hatfield nearly lost his first race for U.S. Senate, in 1966, against Robert Duncan, a hawkish Democratic congressman. At a time when three-quarters of Oregonians said they supported the war in Vietnam, Mr. Hatfield fell behind in the polls, and observers predicted that his dovish views were driving away voters.
Mr. Hatfield stuck to his position, saying, “You can’t stop communism with bullets.” Emphasizing Johnson administration policies that he said were bruising the Oregon timber industry, Mr. Hatfield eked out a narrow victory.
Two years later, he emerged as a likely running mate for presidential candidate Nixon. The Miami Herald even printed a story during the Republican National Convention in Miami declaring Mr. Hatfield the vice presidential nominee.
Mr. Hatfield had the strong support of evangelical leader Billy Graham, but his civil rights record and pacifism brought immediate opposition from Southern Republicans such as Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. At the last moment, Nixon chose Maryland Gov. Spiro T. Agnew as his running mate.
Mr. Hatfield said he never talked to Nixon or Graham about being passed over. He spoke to reporters, congratulated Agnew and went to the beach for a swim.
He went on to document the tensions between his convictions and his party in books such as “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” (1971) and “Against the Grain: Reflections of a Rebel Republican” (2001).
While in the Senate, he helped pass a ban on underground nuclear tests. He campaigned for rules to prohibit the sale of arms to undemocratic countries and countries that do not respect human rights.
As he left office, he spoke bluntly about the regrets he felt about the work he left unfinished. “We’re still the largest arms peddler in the world,” he said in 1997, “and we infect the rest of the world with our lust for weapons.”