Harold E. Stassen brought to you by Longines
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Minnesota’s 25th Governor, Harold Stassen was born in Dakota County on April 13, 1907. He graduated from St. Paul’s Humboldt High School at the age of 14 and received his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1929. Stassen was elected Dakota County attorney the same year. In 1938 Harold Stassen was elected governor of Minnesota. At the ripe old age of 31 he was the youngest governor in the state’s history. Before a 1958 amendment to the state constitution Minnesota governors served two years terms. Stassen was re-elected governor in 1940 and again in 1942. The Governor made a big impression on Republicans after delivering the keynote address at the 1940 Republican National Convention where he worked for Wendell Willkie’s nomination.
During the 1942 campaign he announced that, if reelected, he would resign to serve on active duty with the United States Naval Reserve. Stassen joined with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. After being promoted to Commander, he joined the staff of Admiral William F. Halsey, Commander of the South Pacific Force and served for two years. He left active duty at the rank of Captain in 1945. Three years later Thomas Dewey defeated Stassen’s bid for the Republican nomination for president. After the campaign he found work serving as president of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1952 Stassen ran again for the Republican nomination and lost to Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1953 President Eisenhower appointed Stassen as a member of his cabinet and the National Security Council. He served as director of the Mutual Security Agency and the Foreign Operations Administration and in 1955 Eisenhower appointed Stassen as Special Assistant to the President for Disarmament Policy and was the chief U.S. negotiator at the 1957 London Arms Control Negotiations. During his time in the administration he led an efforts to convince Ike to “dump Nixon” at the 1956 Republican Convention.
In the 1963′s as president of the American Baptist Convention he joined Martin Luther King in his March on Washington. For better or worse, Stassen is probably best remembered for being a perennial Republican candidate for president. Between 1944 and 2000 he ran for the nomination 12 times. Harold Stassen also ran for Governor of Pennsylvania, the United States Senate, the Mayor of Philadelphia, Governor of Minnesota again and in 1986 he was the Republican nominee against Bruce Vento for U.S. Representative in the 4th district. In 1991 Stassen became the oldest governor of any U.S. state still living. Governor Stassen died in 2001 at the age of 93 and is buried at the Acacia Park Cemetery in Mendota Heights.