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Political Reformer Granny D Dies at 100

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Granny D

Sad news. I heard via e-mail last night from election reformer Dennis Burke that Doris “Granny D” Haddock, the election and campaign finance reformer who walked across the country at the age of 89 to advocate for change died peacefully yesterday in her Dublin, New Hampshire family home at 7:18PM.

Dennis arranged for myself and my fellow Why Tuesday? staff members Thomas Macker and Barnett Zitron to visit Granny D in her home in late 2007. It was on a snowy day that I’ll never forget. Dennis shared the following information about Granny D, who you may know from the HBO documentary Run Granny Run:

Born in 1910 in Laconia, New Hampshire, she attended Emerson College and lived through two world wars and the Great Depression. She was an activist for her community and for her country, remaining active until the return of chronic respiratory problems four days ago.

She walked across the United States at the age of 90 in the year 2000, in a successful effort to promote the passage of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act. In 2004, Granny D decided to challenge incumbent Senator Judd Gregg for his US Senate seat. She hoped to demonstrate that ordinary people can run for office and win with the support of small donations from individuals. Despite a shortened, grassroots campaign without the benefit of any advertising dollars, Granny D garnered an impressive 34% of the vote. During the past year five years, Granny D has traveled the country speaking about campaign finance reform and working on behalf of legislation for publicly-funded elections in New Hampshire.

In the 1960s, she and her husband, James Haddock, Sr., were instrumental in halting planned nuclear tests that would have destroyed a native fishing village and region in Alaska.

She raised two children, including the late Elizabeth Lawrenz of Washington D.C., and a son, Jim Haddock, who survives her and, with his wife, Libby, was at her side during many of her great adventures, including the final one today. She is also survived by eight grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.

A public memorial service will be held this summer.

Her dedication to changing America’s broken political system is an inspiration to us all at Why Tuesday? and we will carry her in our memory as we continue our efforts to increase voter participation in the United States.

For more
BBC News: US campaign finance activist Granny D dies at 100
NPR: Campaign Finance Activist Granny D Dies At 100

Photo of Granny D via nhpaul on Flickr.

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