Tags: US | Obit | Haddock

N.H. Campaign Finance Activist Granny D Dies at 100

Wednesday, 10 Mar 2010 07:37 AM

Doris "Granny D" Haddock, a New Hampshire woman who walked across the country at age 89 to promote campaign finance reform and later waged a quixotic campaign for U.S. Senate, has died. She was 100.

Haddock died Tuesday night of chronic respiratory illness at her home in Dublin, N.H., said spokeswoman and family friend Maude Salinger. She was surrounded by her son, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

In 2000, Haddock walked 3,200 miles to draw attention to campaign finance reform. In 2004, at age 94, she ran for U.S. Senate against Republican Judd Gregg. The subtitle of her autobiography, written with Dennis Burke, was "You're Never Too Old to Raise a Little Hell."

"Her age wasn't a factor in what she did," Salinger said. "She never gave up. Until the end, she advocated for public funding. She would wanted people to know that democracy and government belongs to us."

Haddock was born Jan. 24, 1910, in Laconia and attended Emerson College before marrying James Haddock. She later worked at a shoe company for 20 years.

After retiring in 1972, Haddock became more active in community affairs. She became interested in campaign finance reform after the defeat of the first attempt of Sens. John McCain and Russ Feingold to remove unregulated "soft" money from campaigns in 1995. Inspiration for her cross-country trek came from the Tuesday Morning Academy, a group of women in Dublin who met every Tuesday at 8 a.m. to do ballet exercises and discuss world affairs.

"Sometimes I think it was a fool's errand, but I think there are more people in this country who know what campaign finance reform means since I started," she told The Associated Press in February 2000.

Covering about 10 miles a day, Haddock walked through more than 1,000 miles of desert, climbed the Appalachian Range in blizzard conditions and even skied 100 miles after snowfall made roadside walking impossible. She started in near-obscurity, but soon was discovered by local and national media.

Burke, who co-wrote Haddock's memoir, met Haddock as she walked through Arizona on her way to Washington.

"Doris was one of the youngest people I have ever known. She was a little kid about her country — so in love she was with it and so excited for it always," he said early Wednesday.

In 2004, Haddock jumped into the Senate race on the last day to file after the presumptive Democratic nominee dropped out when his campaign manager was accused of financial fraud. A few months before the election, she officially changed her name to "Granny D," but stressed that the "D" stood for "Doris," not her party affiliation. She lost to Gregg 66 to 34 percent.

"It comes down to this — if you want something done right today, you have to run for Congress yourself — or at least send your grandmother," said.

In recent years, she founded a group that pushed the state Legislature to create the Citizen Funded Election Task Force and attended the task force's weekly meetings. She was honored at a Statehouse ceremony in January to mark her 100th birthday.

She was working on a new book, "My Bohemian Century," which focuses on her college days and her Senate campaign and is expected to be published this spring. Haddock had stayed with Burke's family in Phoenix last month to complete work on it, he said.

Both Democrats and Republicans offered condolences Tuesday night.

"Her commitment to fair and open democracy should inspire us all to work even harder for reform," state Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley.

"We are always saddened when someone with a genuine commitment to their values and principles passes away," said Republican Party Chairman John H. Sununu. "Granny D was an unwavering advocate for her beliefs, and her tireless efforts inspired many Granite Staters to participate in our political process," he said.

In her new book's dedication, Haddock offers readers advice: "You have to keep the young adventurer inside your heart alive long enough for it to someday re-emerge. It may take some coaxing and some courage, but that person is in you always — never growing old."

A public memorial service is planned.

© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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