Campaign Finance Reform Activist 'Granny D' Dead at 100

Doris Haddock, a champion of campaign finance reform, is dead at 100.

March 10, 2010— -- If nothing else, Doris "Granny D" Haddock was a fighter. From 1999 to 2000, when she was 89, she walked 3,200 miles across 12 states, fighting for campaign finance reform and against emphysema and arthritis along the way. She kept up the fight until her death March 9, 2010, at her home in Dublin, N.H. She died at the age of 100.

"Campaign finance reform is the most important subject that we have," Haddock, a grandmother of eight, told ABC News when she finished her march to Washington. "If somebody doesn't make a move to get it started, then it never is going to happen."

Granny D, as she was called by her friends and supporters, was born Jan. 24, 1910, in Laconia, N.H. She worked and raised her family during the Great Depression, and was later a designer for a shoe manufacturer in Manchester, N.H .

A Life of Activism

In 1960, she and her husband, Jim, helped to stop the planned use of hydrogen bombs in Alaska. Their actions saved an Inuit fishing village in Point Hope. She took up the cause of campaign finance reform in 1995, after the defeat of a bill sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Russ Feingold, D–Wis. -- their first attempt at a campaign finance bill.

On Jan. 1, 1999, just shy of her 90th birthday, Granny D began a walk across the country to highlight her passion on the issue. She walked 10 miles each day for 14 months, giving speeches along the way. "'Granny, you're walking for me.' 'Granny, I no longer have a voice, and I want us to have it back,'" she said voters told her during her march across the country. When she finally arrived in Washington, D.C., she was greeted by an estimated 2,200 supporters. Several dozen members of Congress joined her for the last few miles to Capitol Hill.

She is widely credited for galvanizing the public support that helped pass the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act in 2002. "Her inspirational efforts and hard work will never be forgotten," McCain said today.

In 2004, when the presumed Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate from New Hampshire dropped out of the race just days before the filing deadline, Granny D decided to jump into the fray against Republican incumbent Senator Judd Gregg. She was attempting to show that ordinary people can win elected office with small donations from individual voters.

Dennis Burke, a close friend and the co-author of her book "Granny D," told ABC News, "Much of the coverage [of her] has mentioned that she ran for the U.S. Senate from New Hampshire in 2004, and that she lost that race. That isn't exactly true: She knew she couldn't win against Judd Gregg, but she couldn't stand the idea of him running unopposed, and she thought she could use the campaign to promote John Kerry, not herself."

Campaign Reform Advocate Granny D Is Dead

Many in New Hampshire were proud of Haddock. Former Gov. John Sununu said today, "We are always saddened when someone with a genuine commitment to their values and principles passes away. Granny D was an unwavering advocate for her beliefs, and her tireless efforts inspired many Granite Staters to participate in our political process."

On Jan. 21 of this year, just as she was turning 100, the Supreme Court struck down limits on corporate spending in political elections. On Jan. 28, at her birthday celebration, Granny D said, "I guess the Supreme Court has burned down our little house, but, truth be told, it was pretty drafty anyway. We had not really solved the problem of too much money in politics. Not hardly. And now we have an opportunity to start clean and build a system of reforms that really will do the trick."

As her friend Dennis Burke said, "She always won, and I think the Supreme Court will learn that before the year is out."