Mike Gravel

American politician; United States Senator (1930-2021)

Maurice Robert "Mike" Gravel (May 13, 1930 – June 26, 2021) was an American Democratic politician. He was member of the Libertarian Party from 2008 to 2010 when he re-joined the Democratic Party. He served as a United States Senator from Alaska (1969-1981) and, previously, as member of the Alaska House of Representatives (1953-1966, speaker from 1965-1966). Gravel was a two-time presidential candidate in 2008 and in 2020.

Mike Gravel
United States Senator
from Alaska
In office
January 3, 1969 – January 3, 1981
Preceded byErnest Gruening
Succeeded byFrank Murkowski
3rd Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives
In office
January 25, 1965 – January 22, 1967
Preceded byBruce Kendall
Succeeded byBill Boardman
Member of the Alaska House of Representatives
from the 8th district
In office
January 23, 1963 – January 22, 1967
Preceded byJohn S. Hellenthal
Succeeded byMichael F. Beirne
Personal details
Maurice Robert Gravel

(1930-05-13)May 13, 1930
Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedJune 26, 2021(2021-06-26) (aged 91)
Seaside, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic (before 2008; 2010–2021)
Libertarian (2008–2010)
Rita Martin
(m. 1959; div. 1981)

Whitney Stewart (m. 1984)
EducationAssumption College
American International College
Columbia University (BS)
WebsiteCampaign website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1951–1954
Rank First Lieutenant

Early years


Gravel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He studied at Assumption College, American International College and at Columbia University. He moved to Alaska in 1956.

Senate years


From 1953 to 1966, Gravel was a member of the Alaska House of Representatives. From 1965 to 1966, Gravel was Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives. In 1969, he was elected United States Senator from Alaska.

Gravel is best known for his successful effort to end military draft during the Vietnam War and put the Pentagon Papers into the public record in 1971. He was seen as a possible running mate for George McGovern's 1972 presidential campaign.

Gravel lost to Clark Gruening in the Democratic Party for re-election in the 1980 Senate election.

Presidential campaigns


As a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2008 he wanted withdrawal of US Armed Forces from Iraq, more health care and social security, and preventing global warming. He is also one of the earliest and the most famous supporters of direct democracy in the United States.

On March 19, 2019, Gravel created an exploratory committee to run for President once again in the 2020 election.[1] He said he would run not to win the nomination, but to raise awareness of bigger issues.[2] On April 2, 2019, Gravel filed to officially run for office.[3][4] He dropped out of the race on July 31, 2019 after failing to qualify for the debates.[5] He endorsed Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard for President on August 5.[6] His campaign manager was a 17 year old high school student.[7]

Gravel died on June 26, 2021 at his home in Seaside, California from multiple myeloma at the age of 91.[8][9]


  1. "Mike Gravel for President Exploratory Committee" (PDF). FEC.gov. March 19, 2019. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  2. @MikeGravel (March 19, 2019). "I am considering running in the 2020 Democratic primary. The goal will not be to win, but to bring a critique of American imperialism to the Democratic debate stage. The website (mikegravel.org ) is under construction. Official announcement will be in the coming days" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. Gravel, Mike [@MikeGravel] (April 2, 2019). "It. Is. On. Sen. Mike Gravel has officially filed to run for president. Our only aim is pushing the field left by appearing in the Democratic debates. Donate as little as you like, but help us get to the necessary 65k donors! Official launch is April 8" (Tweet). Retrieved April 3, 2019 – via Twitter.
  4. "Statement of Candidacy" (PDF). docquery.fec.gov. 2019.
  5. Forgey, Quint (August 2, 2019). "Gravel and his campaign teens end presidential run". Politico. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  6. Resnick, Gideon (5 August 2019). "Mike Gravel to Formally Endorse Bernie Sanders' Campaign". thedailybeast.com. The Daily Beast. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  7. "Mike Gravel on the issues, in under 500 words". Axios. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  8. Clymer, Adam (June 27, 2021). "Mike Gravel, Unconventional Two-Term Alaska Senator, Dies at 91". The New York Times.
  9. Power, Chris (June 27, 2021). "Mike Gravel, gadfly senator from Alaska with flair for the theatrical, dies at 91". The Washington Post.

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