Alaska former Sen. Mike Gravel exploring run for presidency

Mike Gravel

Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel has filed with the Federal Election Commission and formed an exploratory committee for a run for president.

The 88-year-old would be the oldest candidate in an increasingly crowded field of Democrats; he’s 11 years older than Sen. Bernie Sanders and will turn 89 in May.

Gravel was in the Alaska House of Representatives when he ran for Senate, beating Sen. Earnest Gruening. He served from 1969 to 1981.

While in office, Gravel was the senator who read the Pentagon Papers into the public record in 1971, in the middle of a Supreme Court case involving the New York Times reporting on the Vietnam War. The Pentagon Papers were a secret Department of Defense study of U.S. military involvement in Vietnam between 1945 to 1967, but by reading them into the record, they immediately became public documents.

Gravel, a Democrat, lost to Clark Gruening in the 1980 primary; Gruening lost to Republican Frank Murkowski. Gravel ran for president in 2008, and also served as CEO of a cannabis company, KUSH, which made a cannabis lozenge known as “Kubby,” (named after a Libertarian who helped draft California Proposition 215 to legalize medical marijuana).

Gravel has launched the simplest of campaign web sites that indicates he wants to have a voice in the 2020 race, so he can say “what establishment candidates won’t” say.

He also has a Twitter handle, where he has plenty of jokes and jabs at fellow Democrat contenders, calling them out by name. A click on the Twitter button on his website brings up a suggested Tweet: “Holy crap Mike Gravel is running #2020election”.

During his 2008 campaign for president, Gravel was something of a media sensation with his sometimes mystifying television ads, such as this one:


Gravel says he hopes to get enough donations in to qualify for the presidential debates, as he did in 2008, and to push the dialogue “leftward.”

At his web site, he describes his progressive intentions further:

“Sen. Gravel is committed to ending America’s imperial policies (especially in Venezuela and Iran), rescheduling cannabis, fundamentally reforming our politics through direct democracy, abolishing mass surveillance on American citizens, prioritizing climate change, dismantling America’s carceral [prison] state, and building a foreign policy free of undue influence by Israel and Saudi Arabia.”

“If he were to run, he would aim not to win, but instead to qualify for the 2020 Democratic debates in order to send a message that no other candidate, not even Bernie Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard, is willing to issue. Our goal is to push the rest of the Democratic field toward policies, especially on political reform, climate change, and foreign policy, that, for the first time in decades, will truly challenge the American plutocracy and military-industrial complex.”


  1. He was never in the U.S. House. He was elected to the state House in 1962 and 1964 before challenging Ralph Rivers in the 1966 primary. His attempt at the vice-presidency at the 1972 DNC, where he recruited Bettye Fahrenkamp to nominate him and then later rewarded her with a job, was dismissed as a publicity stunt. From the coverage I’ve seen thus far, with various blogs talking about whatever jabs he made at Kamala Harris, this is sizing up as nothing more than a publicity stunt, too.

  2. Nothing more pathetic than a has been politician seeking to be relevant.

    Conversely, the Democrats will probably need old white guys to have any hope of winning, so Mike can join the Joe and Bernie show.

  3. Give me a break. All of that intense pot smoking has finally caught up with Gravel. Soon, he and Bernie Sanders will be in the dementia ward fighting to see who was the bigger fish during the 60’s revolution. If Gravel wants to do something useful for the Democrats he should join Bernie’s campaign as his cannibus aide de camp, and tell Bernie when to take another bong hit between appearances.

  4. It sounds like Gravel is in it to be nothing more than a spoiler for the dims. Great. The more the merrier. I really don’t think Gravel can take the dims any farther left. They have already mostly maxed out “left”. 88 years old. Food for thought. The dims are worried about Bernie’s age. I wonder what they will say about Gravel. His “policies” simply echo the rest of the dims. Communism/socialism, “fix” the electoral process, “fix” the crime/prison problems, “climate” change(another one), crap on two of the lonely allies we have. Sounds good Mike. Maybe you are the man the dims are looking for. I don’t think so but you never know. Maybe you can ask the donkey. She seems to be in charge of the dims.

  5. Gravel was never the Congressman from Alaska. The Congressmen since statehood have been Ralph Rivers, Howard Pollock, Nick Begich, and Don Young. He was in the Alaska House of Representatives.

  6. I remember his last senate race right after I arrived in Alaska. I had no idea he was that stupid. Hopefully the cannabis is helping.

  7. Old white guy, just the demographic the Marxist Demoncrats loath. He will have to wear a dress and call himself non-binary to even be heard.

  8. What’s with all these over-the-hill Democrats and their obsession with marijuana? Gravel is preoccupied with this and so is a past aide of his….Mark Boyer. Boyer, no stranger to puffing his resume and education credentials, actually served in the state House back in the 80’s. Now he is VP of something called Tag-It, a tech business specializing in the marijuana trade. All of these goofey Democrats trying to force pot into our society behind the idea of taxing cannibis and raising revenue from it. Soon, they’ll be needing that revenue to build government facilities for all of the old potheads with marijuana-related dementia.

    • Like I said previously, “Moyer and Boyer and Bettye, oh my!” So was that really Mike Gravel’s legacy?

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