Monday, March 19, 2018

Gary Hart’s Seven Days in May

Gary Hart announces he’s withdrawing from
 the presidential race, May 8, 1987 | AP/ED
No, this post is not about a group of military officers who have taken over the government. In fact, a group of officers already run the government. Rather, this is a story of seven days in early May 1987 that ended a presidential campaign and helped a struggling mayor in Denver.

The seven days from May 1, 1987 when a Miami Herald investigative reporter headed to Washington, D.C., to stake out Gary Hart, to May 8 when Hart withdrew from the presidential race, American politics changed forever.

The private sex lives of politicians became not just Washington gossip and sometimes tabloid fodder, but topics for legacy and the new fragmenting media markets with twenty-four hour news coverage. From Donna Rice, to Gennifer Flowers, to Monica Lewinsky, to Stormy Daniels, presidential campaigns and presidencies spent much time on managing sexual indiscretion.

The seven days in May also affected an important local Denver race. Federico Peña was in a difficult reelection campaign with a spate of early May stories about a controversial police chief. Hart’s media agony was painful to watch, but the timing a beneficial distraction. Peña still lost the primary to Don Bain, 52 percent to 37 percent, but Peña, the comeback kid, won the general election on June 16 in a squeaker by 3,000 votes.

Read New York Times: Denver mayor of high promise fights to hold job

1 comment:

Dave Barnes said...

Don "put me to sleep" Bain.
The archetype of the boring white guy.