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Bill McGaughey’s political campaigns


Bill McGaughey, 67 years of age, is a “perennial candidate” who has run for four different government offices in the seven years between 2001 and 2008. Previously, he had not sought elective office.

(1) In 2001, a friend who was running for Mayor of Minneapolis had a heart attack and withdrew from the race. McGaughey filed instead. After ten days of active campaigning, he received 143 votes in the mayoral primary held on September 11, 2001. This was good for a twelfth place finish among twenty-two candidates in the race.

(2) After attending the Independence Party convention in St. Cloud in July 2002, McGaughey decided to challenge the party-endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate in the party primary. After a month’s active campaign, he received 8,482 votes, or 31.0% of the total votes cast, finishing second in a three-man race. The endorsed candidate, Jim Moore who later became the party’s state chair, finished first with 13,525 votes, or 49.4% of the total. A third candidate, Ronald E. Wills, received 5,351 votes, or 19.6% of the total, finishing third in the race. The primary election was held on September 10, 2002. McGaughey published a book in the aftermath of this election.

In June 2003, McGaughey announced that he would run for President of the United States in certain Democratic primaries. He paid the filing fees and applied for the South Carolina and Louisiana primaries.

While traveling to South Carolina to campaign in January 2004, McGaughey learned that his name had been taken off the primary ballot. The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Terrence McAuliffe, had declared him ineligible to receive delegates at the national convention primarily because he had run in an Independence Party primary and identified himself with “affordable housing- preservation” as a mayoral candidate in Minneapolis.

(3) His name remained on the Louisiana ballot in the Democratic presidential primary. After five weeks of active campaigning, McGaughey finished fifth among seven candidates in the election held on March 9, 2004, receiving 3,161 votes, or 1.96% of the total votes cast. John Kerry, who had sewn up the nomination a week earlier, finished first with 112,639 votes (70% of the total); John Edwards finished second with 26,074 votes (16% of total); Howard Dean was third with 7,948 votes (5% of total); and Wesley Clark was fourth with 7,091 votes (4% of total). Behind McGaughey in sixth place was Dennis Kucinich with 2,411 votes (1.49% of total) and Lyndon LaRouche in seventh place with 2,329 votes (1.44% of total). McGaughey published another book about his experiences in this contest. See also a short narrative.

(4) After a four-year hiatus, Bill McGaughey filed for U.S. Congress in the 5th district of Minnesota, which comprises Minneapolis and several suburbs, on July 10, 2008 (right after Al Franken) as a candidate of the Independence Party. Because no one else filed with that party for 5th district Congress, he was unopposed in the primary and moved on to the general election, held on November 4, 2008. Keith Ellison, the DFL incumbent, finished first in the election with 228,776 votes (70.88% of the total. The Republican candidate, Barb Davis White, finished second with 71,020 votes (22.00% of the total). Bill McGaughey finished third with 22,318 votes (6.92% of the total). See his campaign website.

In summary, although McGaughey won none of the elections, there is an upward trend in the number of votes that he received as a candidate. He campaigned solo, without the help of any party organization, except for the last race when some help was given. His total campaign expenditures were between $500 and $2,000 for each race.

Footnote: On November 2, 2008, the presidential candidate of the Socialist Party of America, Brian P. Moore, announced that if he was elected President, he would appoint Bill McGaughey to a cabinet position as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

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