MADISON, Wis., Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Former Wisconsin Gov. Lee Sherman Dreyfus, who won the only election he ever entered, has died at the age of 81.
Dreyfus's son told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that his father died Wednesday at home in Waukesha, Wis.
A World War II veteran, Dreyfus attended the University of Wisconsin on the GI Bill. He became president of Stevens Point University in 1967 after a varied career in broadcasting and college teaching.
Dreyfus joined the Republican Party in 1978, the same year that he ran for governor. He later said that a trip to China two years earlier had convinced him that one-party states were wrong, whether they were Communist like China or Democratic like Wisconsin, the Journal-Sentinel said.
Campaigning on the state's large surplus, which he said should have been returned to taxpayers, and on the sense that the government was out of touch, Dreyfus won with 55 percent of the vote. He was considered likely to win re-election when he shocked Republicans by announcing he wouldn't run for a second term.
As governor, Dreyfus gave residents a chance for input on whether they preferred a sales or income tax to make up a budget shortfall, the newspaper said. He also signed legislation banning employment discrimination against gays.