(49.) GEORGE Mc GOVERN (1922-2012)
Democrat McGovern/Sargent Shriver
Defeated by Republican Richard M. Nixon/Spiro Agnew, 1972
George McGovern, a World War II veteran with the DFC, who later became a teacher of history and political science, strengthened the Democratic Party in South Dakota as executive secretary. Serving in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1957-1961, he supported legislation to assist farmers, small businessmen, working men, and the aged. He directed the Food for Peace Program in 1960.
After election to the U. S. Senate in 1962, McGovern favored the nuclear test ban treaty, Medicare and antipoverty programs. At the 1968 party convention, he was named chairman of the reform commission to select delegates from the rank and file on a quota system. The system triggered dissension at the 1972 convention. McGovern resigned the commission to seek the nomination for the presidency. With support of newly franchised college students, he won the nomination over Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace.
The McGovern candidacy soon lost momentum over the resignation of Thomas Eagleton as his running mate because of a mental health issue. McGovern’s vacillation on welfare and tax reform issues undercut the major campaign issues. He carried only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.