HAROLD STASSEN Biography - Polititians


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Name: Harold Edward Stassen                                                                     
Born: 13 April 1907 St. Paul, Minnesota                                                         
Died: 4 March 2001 Bloomington, Minnesota                                                       
Harold Edward Stassen (April 13, 1907 – March 4, 2001) was the 25th Governor of               
Minnesota from 1939 to 1943 and a later perennial candidate for other offices,                   
most notably and frequently President of the United States.                                     
Born in West St. Paul, Minnesota, he graduated from high school at age 14 and                   
the University of Minnesota Law School in 1929. He was elected District Attorney                 
of Dakota County in 1930 and 1934. He was seen as an "up and comer" after                       
delivering the keynote address at the 1940 Republican National Convention. At                   
that convention, he helped secure the Republican Party (GOP) nomination for                     
Wendell Willkie.                                                                                 
Against the advice of some of his political advisers, Stassen resigned from                     
office in 1943 to serve as an officer in the United States Navy during World War                 
II. Stassen did indeed lose some of his political base while overseas, whereas                   
Republican candidates such as Thomas Dewey had a chance to increase theirs.                     
Stassen was a delegate at the San Francisco Conference that established the                     
United Nations, and president of the University of Pennsylvania from 1948 to                     
1953. His attempt to establish big-time college football at the university was                   
unpopular and soon abandoned. From 1953 to 1955 he was the director of President                 
Dwight D. Eisenhower's short-lived Foreign Operations Administration.                           
Stassen was later best known for being a perennial candidate for the Republican                 
Party nomination for President, seeking it nine times between 1948 and 1992 (1948,               
1952, 1964, 1968, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992) but never winning it or, after                   
1952, even coming close. He did receive votes at the Republican National                         
Convention as late as 1968 when he won two votes for president (one from                         
Minnesota and the other from Ohio).                                                             
Stassen also ran for:                                                                           
Dakota County District Attorney (he won in 1930 and 1934)                                       
governor of Minnesota on four occasions (he won on his first three attempts 1938,               
1940, 1942),                                                                                     
governor of Pennsylvania twice,                                                                 
United States Senate twice, and                                                                 
mayor of Philadelphia once.                                                                     
U.S. Representative (He was the Republican nominee against Bruce Vento of                       
Minnesota in 1986).                                                                             
Stassen's strongest bid for the presidential nomination was in 1948, when he won                 
a series of upset victories in early primaries. Polls showed that he would beat                 
Harry S. Truman if nominated. He lost the nomination to Thomas Dewey, however,                   
who had already lost in the presidential election of 1944 to Franklin D.                         
Roosevelt. There is some sense that Stassen never got over failing to have the                   
chance to reach what he considered his potential.                                               
Stassen played a key role in the 1952 Republican contest when he released his                   
delegates to Dwight D. Eisenhower. This helped Eisenhower to defeat Robert Taft                 
on the first ballot. He served in the Eisenhower Administration, filling posts                   
including director of the Mutual Security Administration (foreign aid) and                       
Special Assistant to the President for Disarmament. During this period he held                   
cabinet rank and led a quixotic effort (perhaps covertly encouraged by                           
Eisenhower, who had serious reservations about Richard Nixon's qualifications                   
for the presidency) to "dump Nixon" at the 1956 Republican                                       
Convention. When he left the Eisenhower Administration in 1958, he became a                     
candidate for the Republican nomination for governor of Pennsylvania. His defeat                 
in this race — which was not close — generally was seen as marking the end of               
his importance as a political figure, although he became a candidate on many                     
occasions in the ensuing years. Though he maintained a successful law practice                   
in Philadelphia and was a major figure of the World War II and immediate post-war               
eras, he nonetheless became the subject of jokes, even wearing a toupee in an                   
apparent effort to look younger and hence presumably more electable. The humor                   
was collective, with the 'Stop Stassen' movement often attracting more attention                 
than Stassen's bid for the nomination.                                                           
Stassen gained a reputation as a liberal, particularly when, as president of the                 
American Baptist Convention in 1963, he joined Martin Luther King in his march                   
on Washington, D.C.. He was a prime representative of the liberal stream of                     
American Republicanism. Much of his political thought came from his religious                   
beliefs. An active American (or Northern) Baptist, he held important positions                   
in his denomination and in local and national councils of churches. Many                         
remembered him as much as a church figure as a political candidate.                             
On the death of Happy Chandler, Stassen became the earliest governor of any U.S.                 
state still living. When he died, the title was passed to Charles Poletti, a                     
former governor of New York. Stassen died in 2001 in Bloomington, Minnesota,                     
aged 93, and is buried at the Acacia Park Cemetery in Mendota Heights, Minnesota.