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Robert Burren Morgan of Lillington, North Carolina, earned a bachelor's degree from East Carolina University and then a law degree from Wake Forest University. After working for many years as a trial lawyer, he was elected to the N.C. state senate. In 1968 he was elected attorney general, and after serving one and half terms, resigned to run for the U.S. senate. He served in that capacity from 1975 to 1981, when he was defeated in his bid for re-election. He later served as director of the State Bureau of Investigation and president of the Center for Voter Education.