One of the most distinguished politicians in Minnesota history, Eugene McCarthy was born in Watkins, Minnesota, in 1916. After a brief stint as a professor, McCarthy turned to politics and represented Minnesota in the House and the Senate from 1949 to 1971, where he gained a reputation as an intellectual.
In 1967 he announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the presidency as a direct challenge to Lyndon Johnson's Vietnam War policies. His antiwar position won the support of many liberals and his strong showing in the primaries persuaded Johnson to leave the race. After Robert Kennedy's 1968 assassination, McCarthy lost the nomination to Vice President--and fellow Minnesotan--Hubert H. Humphrey.
McCarthy unsuccessfully ran for president a total of five times. Though he never served in the Oval Office, he is remembered for his strong convictions and integrity.
MNHS Reference Staff