M. Patton Echols, a lawyer, State Senator and Republican Candidate for Attorney General for Virginia in the infancy of the Virginia Republican Party died on July 26, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia. A VMI Graduate, Marion "Pat" Echols was an early supporter of Goldwater and a major figure in the development in Virginia as a two party state. Echols was also a significant figure in early conservative efforts to move the nascent Virginia Republican Party away from the moderate Republicanism of Governor Linwood Holton. In 1963, Echols switched from the Democratic to the Republican party and was one of three Republican candidates for the three House of Delegates seats allocated to Arlington and elected countywide, at-large. He came in fifth with 9,139 votes. Echols won a stunning upset victory in a special election for the Virginia State Senate when the Democratic incumbent died suddenly. In February 1969, longtime Virginia State Senator Charles R. Fenwick who represented the 9th District died and in the snap Special Election in March, Echols was elected as a Republican over the expected victor Harrison Mann. Republicans tapped Echols in 1973 for the "unenviable task" of running against popular incumbent Virginia Attorney General Andy Miller. Republicans nominated Echols to balance a statewide ticket led by former Democratic Governor Mills Godwin and Senator John Dalton, a "Holton" Republican. Although, Echols would lose to Democratic Attorney General Andrew Miller, he played a key role in assuring Republican Conservatives that Godwin, who had been considered a moderate among the Byrd Machine Governors in his first term, was sincere in his conversion to the Republican Party. Despite the hopelessness of his underfunded campaign for Attorney General, he stumped the state relentlessly to reassure Conservative Republicans voted for Godwin. Echols campaigned with both gusto and bonhomie. Godwin won a narrow victory over populist liberal Senator Henry Howell who had bypassed the Democratic Primary to seek the Governorship as an independent. At home in a duck blind or in front of a judge, Pat Echols was a Virginia gentlemen with an easy manner and a perpetually unlit pipe. He was a student of both the law and the constitution, an articulate Conservative and truly one of the most significant figures in the early Conservative Movement which ultimately led to the election of Ronald Reagan.