March 10th, 2010
11:03 AM ET
5 years ago

Activist 'Granny D' dead at 100

Activist Doris Haddock died Tuesday night in New Hampshire.
Activist Doris Haddock died Tuesday night in New Hampshire.

(CNN) - Political activist Doris "Granny D" Haddock, best known for walking across the country at the age of 89 in support of overhauling the nation's campaign finance system, died Tuesday night from a chronic respiratory illness at her son's home in Dublin, New Hampshire, according to a family spokeswoman. Haddock had celebrated her 100th birthday on January 24.

Haddock made headlines in 1999 when she embarked on a 3,200-mile trek from Los Angeles, California, to the U.S. Capitol in Washington to advocate on behalf of reducing the role of money in political campaigns.

"Campaign reform is the beginning of everything else," said Haddock in a July 2000 interview with CNN. "There are so many problems in this country that need to be solved, but they need money in order to solve them. And when campaign finance reform has been enacted, that will release a great deal of money."

She was an active supporter of campaign finance legislation authored by Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, which was signed into law in 2002.

"I was saddened to learn of the passing of Granny D," said McCain. "Her inspirational efforts and hard work will never be forgotten."

In a separate statement, Feingold called Haddock "one of the most determined and dedicated advocates I have ever known."

"Her walk across America in support of campaign finance reform and returning democracy to the people inspired people of all ages and all backgrounds," he added.

In 2004, she waged a last-minute and up-hill challenge for the U.S. Senate against New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg. Gregg won the contest with 66 percent of the vote, compared to 34 percent for Haddock.

"She was active until two days before her death," said Maude Salinger, a close friend and family spokeswoman. "She lived a very full life. Even though everyone is sad, we're also full of joy over what she was able to accomplish."

Haddock is survived by a son, eight grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren. A public memorial is planned for the spring.


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soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Dutch

    In her memory, the Surpreme Court should overturn their radical decision on campaign financing.

    March 10, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. so rich even obama couldn't hurt me but you middle class folk should worry

    very interesting woman, I wondered what she thought about this last election and the money spent, she never commented though. there is a documentary about her out there I recommend it, its interesting definitely.

    March 10, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  3. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    What a visionary she was. She stood up to the special interests. We have so much to do to get her mission accomplished.
    Campaign reform is so needed in an age where it takes millions to be elected dog cather in this country.

    March 10, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. LacrosseMom

    May you rest in peace, Granny D. May we, Progressives, all have the courage to fight for justice and for our Nation like you did. God bless you!

    March 10, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  5. Allison

    Mrs. Haddock was a phenomenal person and will be missed. Thanks for everything you've done for this country of ours, Granny D.

    March 10, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. Rosa Birmingham, AL

    Too bad her walk didn't do anything to help campaign reform. The exercise probably kept her alive another 10 years, so it wasn't completely in vain.

    March 10, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    She had what we now refer to as 'old school' committment to a worthwhile cause. She embodied true and heartfelt conviction, and backed it up with ACTION!! She will be missed.

    March 10, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. Bob Ferris

    What she said nearly a dozen years ago is even more true now. we really need to do something!

    March 10, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  9. Shawn

    That's a "real" American.

    March 10, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. Ben in Texas

    And campaign finance reform is still the main underlying problem in American politics. Corporate contributions, which have recently been unleashed in the most drastic way by the Extreme Court, fuel the greed and bribery that operate openly in our federal government. There can be no ethics underlying a government that runs on funds provided by corporations, many of which are not even run by U.S. citizens. The way to begin cleaning up government is to take the money out of it. Unfortunately, the people who could do this are the people who benefit from the system as it is: politicians. Voting them out will only bring in a new crop who will soon see the benefits to themselves of retaining the corrupt status quo.

    March 10, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. Dar

    We could all hope to live such a great and helpful life.
    May the lord be with you Granny

    March 10, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. jane

    What an inspiring woman!

    March 10, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  13. buckwheat

    We could pay off the national debt with what all the politicians have stashed away. I can say one thing. None of it is mine nor will it be since our government elections can now be bought by foreign interest.

    March 10, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  14. Walter

    Good on ya, old girl. Your kids and grand-kids should be proud.

    March 10, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  15. Brian

    It's just a shame that she didn't read the entire bill or I don't think she would have been so passionate about it.... they didn't call it the McCain/Feingold Incumbent Protection Act for nothing.

    March 10, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  16. Lynn

    Her work was quickly undermined when the Supreme Court Justices voted 5-4 in favor of selling campaigns to the deepest pockets.

    March 10, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. a little sad

    RIP, Granny D.

    March 10, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  18. j

    Condolences to her family. I bet she was not to happy with the recent Supreme Court decision overturning over a hundreds years of campaign reform and opening up the flood gates to all sorts of political nonsense.

    March 10, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  19. tee tee

    RIP Doris

    March 10, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. Macleod2012

    This is an activist and a very good one......she did not have to stand in front of a bulldozer in a war zone to get herself heard....take notes people that want to make a difference...what she did and how she did it was the correct way....no matter if you agreed with her or not

    March 10, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. Aunt Bea and Opie

    She was right ,its time to drain the swamp,starting with every republican,and then everyone else that doesnt heed the peoples message by 2012.

    March 10, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. Reny

    The sad thing about this is her goals will never be realized.

    March 10, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |