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A timeline of Sen. Eugene McCarthy's life and political career

A timeline of Sen. Eugene McCarthy's life and political career.


March 29, 1916: Born Eugene Joseph McCarthy in Watkins, Minnesota to a devoutly Catholic family; Republican father Michael McCarthy, son of Irish immigrants; mother Anna Baden, German Catholic; had two older sisters, Mildred and Marian, and younger brother, Austin

1932-35: Student at St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota

1939: Received M.A. in Sociology from University of Minnesota, Minneapolis


1935-40: Taught at public high schools in Minnesota and North Dakota

1940-43: Professor of economic education at St. John's University

1944: Civilian technical assistant at Military Intelligence Division, U.S. Department of War

1946-49: Instructor of sociology and economics, acting head of Sociology Department at St. Thomas College, St. Paul

1949-59: U.S. HOUSE

1949-59: Won seat in tough race in Minnesota's 4th District (St. Paul), seen as liberal anti-Communist Democrat; opposed red-baiting by Sen. Joe McCarthy, R-Wis.

1958-68: U.S. SENATE

1958: Won election to U.S. Senate; one of 13 liberal Democrats who made up the Class of 1958

1960: Gave passionate speech endorsing presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson at Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles; the speech raised his national profile, but put McCarthy in opposition to Kennedy administration

1964: Lyndon B. Johnson chose Hubert H. Humphrey over McCarthy for vice president; supported Gulf of Tonkin resolution, won re-election to Senate

1965: Joined Senate Foreign Relations Committee; seen as part of group of anti-war Democrats, including J. William Fulbright, Albert Gore, Sr., Robert F. Kennedy, George McGovern, Wayne Morse


1967: Published "The Limits of Power: America's Role in the World"

November 30, 1967: Announced entry into race for Democratic nomination against Lyndon B. Johnson; ran as anti-war candidate; attracted the help of students who joined to "Get clean for Gene"

March 12, 1968: Came in a close second to President Johnson in New Hampshire Democratic primary: Johnson 49 percent, McCarthy 42 percent

March 31, 1968: Johnson dropped out of race

April 2, 1968: Won Wisconsin Democratic primary: McCarthy 56 percent, Johnson 35 percent

May 28, 1968: Beat Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, D-N.Y., in Oregon primary

June 6, 1968: Robert F. Kennedy assassinated in Los Angeles

August 1968: At the Democratic National Convention, Chicago, McCarthy received 23 percent of the 2,622 delegate votes cast. Ran against establishment-supported Hubert H. Humphrey and Sen. George McGovern, D-S.D. Humphrey won nomination with 67 percent of vote

November 6, 1968: Humphrey lost presidential election to Richard M. Nixon


1969: Resigned from Senate Foreign Relations Committee

1970: Lost nomination for Senate seat to Humphrey


1972: Ran for Democratic presidential nomination, lost Illinois primary to Edmund S. Muskie, 63 percent to 36 percent

1973: Contemplated run for Congress in 6th District (surrounding his hometown of Watkins); opposed by DFL establishment

1976: Ran for president as Independent, received 740,460 votes, or 1 percent of total

1980: His endorsement in the presidential election was unclear; either endorsed Libertarian Ed Clark or Republican Ronald Reagan

1982: Lost DFL Senate primary to Mark Dayton

1988: Ran for president on Progressive Party ticket in Minnesota

1992: Ran for Democratic nomination for president, received 211 votes in New Hampshire primary, excluded from party debates

2000: Green Party organizer

2004: Served on National Board of Advisors of Federation for American Immigration Reform