Former Vice President Walter Mondale Is Dead

Mondale, 93, also nominated the first female running mate on major ticket, Geraldine Ferraro
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 19, 2021 8:01 PM CDT
Former Vice President Walter Mondale Is Dead
A 2012 photo of former Vice President Walter Mondale.   (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

Former Vice President Walter Mondale, a liberal icon who lost the most lopsided presidential election after bluntly telling voters to expect a tax increase if he won, has died at age 93. Mondale’s family says he died Monday in Minneapolis, per the AP. The death of the former senator, ambassador, and Minnesota attorney general was announced in a statement from his family. No cause was cited. Mondale followed the trail blazed by his political mentor, Hubert H. Humphrey, from Minnesota politics to the US Senate and the vice presidency, serving under Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981. His own try for the White House, in 1984, came at the zenith of Ronald Reagan’s popularity. Mondale’s selection of Rep. Geraldine Ferraro of New York as his running mate made him the first major-party presidential nominee to put a woman on the ticket, but his declaration that he would raise taxes helped define the race.

On Election Day, he carried only his home state and the District of Columbia. The electoral vote was 525-13 for Reagan—the biggest landslide in the Electoral College since Franklin Roosevelt defeated Alf Landon in 1936. (Sen. George McGovern got 17 electoral votes in his 1972 defeat, winning Massachusetts and Washington, DC.) “I did my best,” Mondale said the day after the election, and blamed no one but himself. “I think you know I’ve never really warmed up to television,” he said. “In fairness to television, it never really warmed up to me.” Years later, Mondale said his campaign message had proven to be the right one. “History has vindicated me that we would have to raise taxes,” he said. “It was very unpopular, but it was undeniably correct.”

(Read more Walter Mondale stories.)

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