ElectionsInfo.net     An Internet archive of election results and analysis

ElectionsInfo

United States

International

Search

   George S. McGovern

CANDIDATE INFORMATION

Party

Democratic

 

Home

, , Avon, SD USA

Website

Link

Facebook

Born

7/19/1922

Died

10/21/2012

Database Record

Entered on 7/19/2005, Updated 10/21/2012

Biography

George Stanley McGovern, Ph.D George McGovern was born in Avon, South Dakota and lived in nearby Mitchell. The son of a minister, he graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University. McGovern married Eleanor Stegeberg of Woonsocket on October 31, 1943. The two had met during a high school debate in which Eleanor and her sister Ila defeated McGovern and his partner. He volunteered for the United States Army Air Forces during World War II and served as a B-24 Liberator bomber pilot in the Fifteenth Air Force, flying 35 missions over enemy territory from bases in North Africa and later Italy, often against heavy anti-aircraft artillery. McGovern was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for saving his crew by crash landing his damaged bomber on a small Mediterranean island. On return from the war, McGovern earned a divinity degree from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and briefly tried his hand as a Methodist minister. Dissatisfied, he earned a PhD in history from Northwestern University and became a professor at his alma mater, Dakota Wesleyan University. Although he was raised by two Republican parents, he chose not to join any party until the 1948 presidential election, when he registered as an Independent and joined the newly-formed Progressive Party. During the campaign, he attended the party's first national convention as a delegate and volunteered for the campaign of its presidential nominee, former Vice President Henry A. Wallace. In 1952, he heard a radio broadcast of Adlai Stevenson's speech accepting the Democratic Party presidential nomination. He immediately registered as a Democrat, then volunteered for Stevenson's campaign the following day. Although Stevenson lost that election, McGovern remained active in Democratic politics. In 1956, he ran for and won a seat in the House of Representatives. After two terms in the House, he unsuccessfully ran for the Senate in 1960, losing to Republican incumbent Karl Mundt 52–48%. The election loss made him available for appointment as the first director of President John F. Kennedy's Food for Peace program. In 1962, he stood for election to South Dakota's other Senate seat and won, serving his first of three Senate terms. Although he voted in favor of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, McGovern later became a strong critic of defense spending, and was an early and vocal opponent of U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, often criticizing the policies of President Lyndon Johnson. McGovern was outspoken in his criticism of the Senate's "war hawks". During Senate floor debate in September 1970, he assailed his colleagues for not supporting an amendment that he had co-sponsored with Senator Mark Hatfield (R-Oregon) calling for a complete withdrawal of troops from Vietnam. At the 1968 Democratic National Convention, McGovern stood as the anti-war flagbearer for some of the supporters of Sen. Robert Kennedy, who had been assassinated two months earlier while running for the nomination. Despite strong anti-war sentiment, McGovern lost the Presidential nomination to establishment candidate Vice President Hubert Humphrey. During the convention, a motion was passed to establish a commission to reform the Democratic Party nomination process. In 1969, McGovern was named chairman of this Reform Commission. The commission significantly reduced the role of party officials and insiders in the nomination process, increased the role of caucuses and primaries, and mandated quotas for proportional black, women, and youth delegate representation. McGovern again ran for President in 1972. Frontrunner Edmund Muskie did worse than expected in the New Hampshire primary and McGovern came in a close second. McGovern picked up valuable momentum in the following months. Despite losing several primaries, including losing the Florida primary to George Wallace, McGovern secured enough delegates to the 1972 Democratic National Convention to win the party's nomination. McGovern's campaign manager, Gary Hart, became a presidential contender himself 12 years later. In the 1972 election, McGovern ran on a platform that advocated withdrawal from the Vietnam War in exchange for the return of American prisoners of war and amnesty for draft evaders who had left the country. McGovern's platform also included an across-the-board, 37% reduction in defense spending over three years; and a "demogrant" program giving $1,000 to every citizen in America that was later dropped from the platform. In addition, McGovern supported ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Just over two weeks after his nomination, it was revealed that McGovern's running-mate, Thomas Eagleton, had received electroshock therapy for depression during the 1960s. Though many people still supported Eagleton's candidacy, an increasing number of influential politicians and columnists questioned his ability to be Vice-President. The resulting negative attention prompted McGovern to accept Eagleton's offer to withdraw from the ticket, replacing him with JFK in-law Sargent Shriver. This occurred after McGovern had stated publicly he was still "...behind Eagleton 1000%"; reneging on that statement a few days later made McGovern look indecisive. The McGovern Commission changes to the convention rules marginalized the influence of establishment Democratic figures. Many refused to support him, with some switching their support to incumbent President Richard Nixon through a campaign effort called "Democrats for Nixon". In the general election, the McGovern/Shriver ticket suffered a 60%–38% defeat to Nixon — at the time, the second biggest landslide in American history, with Electoral College totals of 520 to 17. McGovern's two electoral vote victories came in Massachusetts and DC; McGovern failed to win his home state of South Dakota. After this loss, McGovern returned to South Dakota, where he was re-elected to the Senate in 1974. In 1980, he was defeated for re-election by U.S. Rep. James Abdnor amidst that year's Republican sweep. In 1984, he sought his party's presidential nomination once again. Although he finished in third place in the Iowa caucus amidst a crowded field, his campaign eventually floundered and he withdrew soon after the New Hampshire primary. The McGoverns had five children: Ann, Terry, Susan, Mary McGovern-McKinnon, and Steven. In 1994, his daughter Teresa died of hypothermia while intoxicated. McGovern revealed his daughter had battled her alcohol addiction for years. He founded a non-profit organization in her name to help others suffering from alcoholism. From 1998 to 2001, he served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies. In 2001, he was appointed UN Global Ambassador on World Hunger by the World Food Programme. He endorsed Democrat Wesley Clark's unsuccessful candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination for the 2004 presidential election on January 18, 2004. McGovern continues to lecture and make public appearances. He previously owned a used book store in his summer home of Stevensville in Montana's Bitterroot Valley. McGovern's wife, Eleanor, died January 25, 2007, at their home in Mitchell, South Dakota. George McGovern effected major changes in Democratic party rules that continue to this day, such as the requirements of diversity of the delegates to the party's nominating convention. He remains a symbol of the political left during the turbulent 1960s and early 1970s when the country was torn by U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and the corruption and abuse of power of the Nixon administration. Despite his reputation as a dovish liberal, McGovern is not a pacifist, and has publicly stated so. McGovern's legacy includes a commitment to combating hunger both in the US and across the globe. In addition to numerous domestic programs, together with Republican Sen. Bob Dole he created an international school lunch program through The George McGovern-Robert Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which helps fight child hunger and poverty by providing nutritious meals to children in schools in developing countries.

Sources

Adapted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_McGovern


NEWS

Date

Category

Headline

10/21/2012

Obituary

George McGovern

10/21/2012

Obituary

George McGovern, proud liberal, dead at 90

10/15/2012

News

Ex-Sen. George McGovern, who lost presidency to Nixon in historic landslide, in hospice care

4/5/2012

News

George McGovern Released From Fla. Hospital

4/4/2012

News

George McGovern hospitalized, family says

12/2/2011

News

George McGovern hospitalized after fall

10/25/2011

News

McGovern Hospitalized In Sioux Falls

7/19/2010

General

McGovern celebrates 88th birthday with a skydive

11/11/2007

Review

McGovern Redux

1/6/2008

News

McGovern: Impeach Bush, Cheney Now

7/19/2007

Opinion

The McGovern Landslide

1/30/2006

General

Come Home, America

4/24/2007

Opinion

George McGovern: Cheney is wrong about me, wrong about war

3/8/2007

Opinion

McGovern: Cheney must go

11/10/2006

General

McGovern to meet with Congress on war

6/2/2005

Statement

New 'Deep Throat' needed for Iraq, says Nixon rival


EVENTS

DISCUSSION

ELECTIONS

3/6/1998

US Ambassador to the United Nations - Rome

D

Won 100.00%

7/19/1984

US President - D Convention

D

Lost 0.10%

7/1/1984

US President - D Primaries

D

Lost 1.84%

7/1/1984

US President - R Primaries

R

Lost 0.01%

11/4/1980

SD US Senate

D

Lost 39.40%

8/14/1980

US Vice President - D Convention

D

Lost 0.06%

6/3/1980

SD US Senate - D Primary

D

Won 62.44%

7/1/1976

US President - D Primaries

D

Lost 0.00%

11/5/1974

SD US Senate

D

Won 53.04%

12/18/1972

US President - Electoral Vote

D

Lost 3.16%

11/7/1972

US President National Vote

D

Lost 37.53%

8/12/1972

NY US President - L Convention

L

Won 95.61%

7/13/1972

US President - D Convention

D

Won 57.37%

6/6/1972

US President - R Primaries

R

Lost 0.07%

6/6/1972

US President - D Primaries

D

Lost 25.34%

11/5/1968

SD US Senate

D

Won 56.79%

8/29/1968

US President - D Convention

D

Lost 5.63%

7/29/1968

US Vice President - D Convention

D

Lost 0.08%

11/6/1962

SD US Senate

D

Won 50.15%

11/8/1960

SD US Senate

D

Lost 44.88%

11/4/1958

SD District 01

D

Won 53.44%

11/6/1956

SD District 01

D

Won 52.40%


FAMILY

Spouse

Eleanor Stegeberg McGovern (10/31/1943 to 1/25/2007)

Child

Ann McGovern

Child

Teresa "Terry" McGovern

Child

Mary McGovern-McKinnon

Child

Steven McGovern

Child

Susan McGovern Rowen


TAGS

 


CANDIDATE INFO LINKS

Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient George McGovern

George S. McGovern Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech 1972


ENDORSEMENTS

SD At-Large - D Primary

6/5/2012

Matthew Varilek (D)

US President - D Primaries

6/3/2008

Barack Obama (D)

MD US Senate - D Primary

9/12/2006

Allan Lichtman (D)

US President - D Primaries

6/9/2004

Wesley K. Clark (D)

SD US President - D Primary

6/1/2004

Wesley K. Clark (D)

US President National Vote

11/2/1976

Gerald R. Ford (R)

Supreme Court - Associate Justice

12/17/1975

John Paul Stevens (N)

U. S. Secretary of State

9/21/1973

Reject ()

Secretary of Defense

1/30/1973

Elliot L. Richardson (R)

Supreme Court - Associate Justice

12/15/1971

Reject ()

Supreme Court - Associate Justice

12/9/1971

Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr. (N)

Supreme Court - Associate Justice

5/17/1970

Harry Blackmun (N)

Supreme Court - Associate Justice

4/8/1970

Reject ()

Supreme Court - Associate Justice

11/21/1969

Reject ()

Supreme Court - Chief Justice

6/23/1969

Warren E. Burger (N)

US President - D Primaries

6/11/1968

Robert F. Kennedy (D)

SD US President - D Primary

6/4/1968

Robert F. Kennedy (D)

US President - Electoral Vote

12/13/1948

Henry A. Wallace (PRG)

US President National Vote

11/2/1948

Henry A. Wallace (PRG)


BOOKS

The Essential America: Our Founders and the Liberal Tradition

Vote Your Conscience: The Last Campaign of George McGovern

The Third Freedom: Ending Hunger in Our Time

Out of Iraq: A Practical Plan for Withdrawal Now

What It Means to Be a Democrat


All information on this site is © ElectionsInfo.net and should not be used without attribution.