Walter Mondale, the former vice president to Jimmy Carter and staunch democrat who lost the 1984 presidential election to Ronald Reagan, has died. He was 93.
Mondale’s family announced his death in a statement on Monday and did not mention a cause of death, according to the Associated Press.
Mondale was a United States Senator, representing Minnesota, from 1964 to 1976. He then served as the 42nd vice president under the Carter administration from 1977 to 1981. Mondale was the Democratic nominee for the 1984 presidential election, and ultimately lost the position in a landslide vote to Reagan, who was running for his second term in office.
Born in Ceylon, Minn., Mondale graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1951. He served in the Army during the Korean War, returning to marry his wife, Joan Adams Mondale, in 1955 and receive his a law degree in 1956. Mondale worked as a lawyer and was eventually made Minnesota’s attorney general in 1960. In 1964, Mondale was appointed to Hubert Humphrey’s Senate seat after Humphrey was elected vice president. During Mondale’s 12 years as a Senator, he championed topics such as fair housing, education, tax reform, migrant workers and the desegregation of schools, and was also a part of the “Church Committee,” which investigated abuses by the CIA, NSA, FBI and IRS.
Mondale gave up his Senate seat in 1976, when Carter selected him as his running mate for that year’s presidential election. Carter and Mondale won the presidency, beating out Gerald Ford and Bob Dole. In his role as vice president, Mondale traveled around the world as a liaison to the administration’s foreign policy. He is credited with being the first “activist vice president” due to the many causes he championed in office, and expanded the role to include advising and troubleshooting duties. Mondale also held weekly lunches with President Carter, a tradition that has continued throughout the administrations that followed.
Carter and Mondale ran for the presidency again in 1980, but were defeated by Reagan and George H.W. Bush. In 1984, Mondale was selected as the democratic nominee for the presidency, but lost in a landslide, earning only 40% of the popular vote and winning just Minnesota and the District of Columbia.
After his presidential defeat, Mondale returned to law, working for the Minnesota-based firm Dorsey & Whitney. He was later appointed as the U.S. ambassador to Japan in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, and retired from the position in 1996. Mondale returned to politics for a short stint in 2002, when he ran for Senate to replace Sen. Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash. Mondale lost the race, and later worked as a lawyer and part-time professor at the University of Minnesota.
Mondale is predeceased by his wife, Joan, and their daughter, Eleanor. Mondale is survived by two sons, Ted and William.