Richard A. Viguerie pioneered the use of direct mail in politics. He made it possible for candidates and causes to raise money from millions of small contributors rather than from a few “fat cats.” His innovations increased the influence of grass-roots Americans and brought countless citizens into the political process for the first time.
Long before the World Wide Web, Viguerie used mail to go over the heads of the news media, to get information directly to the people.
Across the political spectrum are candidates and organizations that owe their success to techniques Viguerie developed. The late John F. Kennedy Jr.’s political magazine, George, called the founding of Viguerie’s company one of the “defining political moments of the 20th century.”
A native of Houston, Viguerie stepped onto the national stage in 1961 as executive secretary (director) of Young Americans for Freedom, the youth group that the late William F. Buckley Jr. founded. He helped unite conservatives into a movement that put Reagan in the White House and changed the course of history.
In 1979, Time magazine named him one of 50 future leaders of America, and in 1981 People, magazine named him one of the 25 most intriguing people of the year.
Viguerie is the author or co-author of five books. He and his wife, Elaine, have three children and six grandchildren.