The longevity of Strom Thurmond made him the longest-serving United States Senator and record-holder for the longest speech ever made in the Senate, 24 hours and 18 minutes. A native of Edgefield, he was a state senator, circuit judge, and governor, and served in the Senate from 1954 until January 2003, shortly before his death. In 1948 he ran for president on the Dixiecrat ticket, successfully carrying several southern states. He was first elected to the Senate as a write-in candidate for the Democratic Party, but switched to the Republican Party in 1964, signaling the beginning of the Republican ascendancy in the South. In World War II he served in both the European and Pacific theaters, and as a major general he received five battle stars and eighteen decorations. Numerous schools and state and federal buildings are named in his honor.