George McGovern, Former Presidential Nominee and Senator, Dead at 90
George McGovern, a liberal United States senator from South Dakota who was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1972, died on Sunday in Sioux Falls, S.D. at age 90.
Known for his progressive values and stance against the Vietnam War, McGovern was soundly defeated by incumbent President Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential election. McGovern carried only the District of Columbia and Massachusetts, capturing just 37 percent of the popular vote.
A World War II veteran who flew bombing raids, McGovern spent four terms in the House of Representatives and three in the Senate. His voting record showed consistent support for social programs such as food stamps and anti-poverty measures, advocacy of civil rights’ bills and opposition to military action.
After naming Sen. Thomas Eagleton of Missouri as his running mate in the ’72 campaign, McGovern was forced to replace him after it was revealed that Eagleton received electric shock therapy for depression. At first, McGovern supported Eagleton “1,000 percent” after the revelation, but the nominee removed his running mate after Eagleton’s past began to affect the ticket’s chances. McGovern was then turned down by five other Democrats before Sargent Shriver accepted his offer to share the ticket. The incident was instrumental in the lopsided election defeat.
McGovern briefly courted the presidential nomination again in 1984, just a few years after being voted out of his seat in the Senate. In subsequent years, McGovern was not a central figure in the Democratic Party. He maintained a steadfast stance against later American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. McGovern is survived by three daughters, Ann, Susan and Mary, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He was preceded in death by his wife Eleanor McGovern, his son Steven and his daughter Teresa.