Mike Gravel's unlikely bid for president was launched by two teenagers who learned about him through a podcast and encouraged the former Alaska senator to run for president in 2020.
Out of the running: Having failed to make the debate stage during the first two Democratic debates, Gravel's team decided to close up shop on their campaign and redirect their efforts towards a think tank. In a video posted to Twitter, he endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., for president.
Name: Maurice Robert "Mike" Gravel
Date of birth: May 13, 1930
Hometown: Springfield, Massachusetts
Family: Married to Whitney Stewart Gravel, father to two children
Education: Studied for one year at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, and then transferred to American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. Later, he attended Columbia University School of General Studies where he earned a B.S. in economics in 1956.
What he does now: Retired and lives in California with his wife
What he used to do: He served as a U.S. Senator from Alaska from 1969 to 1981, sought the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1963 to 1966 and served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1954.
Key life/career moments:
Following a failed bid for Congress in 1966, Gravel was elected to represent Alaska in the U.S. Senate in 1968.
Gravel was one of the most vocal critics of the Vietnam War during his time in the Senate.
In 1971, Gravel gained national attention when he executed a one-man filibuster for five months. His efforts resulted in killing legislation to extend the draft.
He also introduced the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record in 1971.
Sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
Where he stands on some of the issues:
Gravel is ardently anti-war and has called to end all wars including the "war on drugs, the war on crime, and the everyday war on this country's working class, according to his campaign site.
He is also a pro-democracy activist who has called to abolish the Electoral College and advocated for a "legislature of the people": a proposal which would allow citizens to create their own laws through popular referendum.
The campaign team reported attaining the 65,000 donor threshold set forth by the Democratic National Committee to qualify for the second Democratic presidential debate. Gravel, however, did not make the debate stage as more candidates met either the donor or polling criteria which made the DNC use the tiebreaker rules, giving preference to polling criteria over number of donors when assigning the podiums on the debate stage.
What you might not know about him:
Two 18-year-olds -- David Oks and Henry Williams -- were spearheading Gravel's presidential campaign.
Gravel's 2020 Twitter account is run by his teenage campaign managers.
When Gravel decided to endorse Sanders, he was also considering Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and self-help author Marianne Williamson, according to his 19-year-old campaign treasurer Henry Magowan. He ultimately endorsed Gabbard for vice president and would act as a surrogate for her while she's deployed for two weeks in August for Army National Guard training.
His campaign was being transitioned into a progressive think tank called the Gravel Institute.