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Harry Whittington, a Texas attorney who was influential over his state’s Republican Party, died at the age of 95 on Saturday, according to family friend Karl Rove.

Whittington was a valuable behind-the-scenes political resource, but he drew national attention after a 2006 accident during the hunting trip with then-Vice President Dick Cheney, during which Cheney shot Whittington in the face with birdshot. The men had been out on the Armstrong Ranch in South Texas when the vice president tried to shoot a bird but hit Whittington, who was 78 then. Whittington was struck with pellets in the face, neck, and chest, and suffered a heart attack.

“He was an extraordinary human being, and to be remembered as being the victim of a hunting accident sort of gripes me,” Rove said in a statement.

The lawyer was also known for decades of political work. He helped campaigns including John Tower’s 1961 Senate race and former President George W. Bush’s failed congressional campaign. He was also consulted by governors looking to improve state agencies and served on a number of state boards.

BIRDSHOT PELLET MIGRATES TO HEART OF MAN SHOT BY CHENEY

Austin, Texas, attorney Harry Whittington steps out to talk with members of the media, Feb. 17, 2006, in front of Christus Spohn Corpus Christi Hospital-Memorial. Whittington, the man who then-Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot while they were hunting quail on a Texas ranch 17 years earlier, died Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, in Austin, family friend Karl Rove said Monday, Feb. 6. He was 95.

Austin, Texas, attorney Harry Whittington steps out to talk with members of the media, Feb. 17, 2006, in front of Christus Spohn Corpus Christi Hospital-Memorial. Whittington, the man who then-Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot while they were hunting quail on a Texas ranch 17 years earlier, died Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, in Austin, family friend Karl Rove said Monday, Feb. 6. He was 95. (The Associated Press)

One of those boards was the Texas Board of Corrections, which was facing problems when a federal judge ruled that a state prison system’s conditions were so bad they were unconstitutional. 

That work led to Whittington becoming a champion of prison reform and of inmates with mental disabilities.

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Harry Whittington died on Feb. 4, 2023 after decades of political service in the state of Texas.

Harry Whittington died on Feb. 4, 2023 after decades of political service in the state of Texas. (Reuters)

The attorney’s political presence also involved renting out office space to Republican honchos while on the rise. Bush set up his gubernatorial campaign headquarters in Whittington’s Austin office building, and so did former Gov. Rick Perry and Rove too.

Family friend Karl Rove called Texas attorney Harry Whittington "an extraordinary human being."

Family friend Karl Rove called Texas attorney Harry Whittington “an extraordinary human being.” (Reuters)

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Rove also brought Whittington on as the secretary and treasurer of his company. Upon his passing, Rove said he was “an enormous source of good counsel and mentorship to dozens.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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