John B. Anderson

John Anderson
John Bayard Anderson.jpg
Chair of the House Republican Conference
In office
January 3, 1969 – June 8, 1979
LeaderGerald Ford
John Jacob Rhodes
Preceded byMelvin Laird
Succeeded bySamuel L. Devine
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 16th district
In office
January 3, 1961 – January 3, 1981
Preceded byLeo E. Allen
Succeeded byLynn Morley Martin
Personal details
BornJohn Bayard Anderson
(1922-02-15)February 15, 1922
Rockford, Illinois, U.S.
DiedDecember 3, 2017(2017-12-03) (aged 95)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyRepublican (before 1980)
Independent (1980–2017)
Keke Machakos (m. 1953)
EducationUniversity of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (BA, JD)
Harvard University (LLM)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1943–1945
RankStaff sergeant
Battles/warsWorld War II

John Bayard Anderson (February 15, 1922 – December 3, 2017) was a United States Congressman and presidential candidate from Illinois. As a member of the Republican Party, he represented Illinois's 16th congressional district from 1961 through 1981. In 1980, he ran an independent campaign for president, taking 6.6% of the popular vote.

Born in Rockford, Illinois, Anderson practiced law after serving in the Army during World War II. After a stint in the United States Foreign Service, he won election as the State's Attorney for Winnebago County, Illinois. He won election to the House of Representatives in 1960 in a strongly Republican district. Initially one of the most conservative members of the House, Anderson's views moderated during the 1960s, particularly regarding social issues. He became Chairman of the House Republican Conference in 1969 and remained in that position until 1979. He strongly criticized the Vietnam War as well as President Richard Nixon's actions during the Watergate scandal.

Anderson entered the 1980 Republican presidential primaries, introducing his signature campaign proposal of raising the gas tax while cutting social security taxes. He established himself as a contender for the nomination in the early primaries, but eventually dropped out of the Republican race, choosing to pursue an independent campaign for president. In the election, he finished third behind Republican nominee Ronald Reagan and Democratic President Jimmy Carter. He won support among Rockefeller Republicans, independents, liberal intellectuals, and college students.

After the election, he resumed his legal career and helped found FairVote, an organization that advocates electoral reforms such as instant-runoff voting. He also won a lawsuit against the state of Ohio, Anderson v. Celebrezze, in which the Supreme Court struck down early filing deadlines for independent candidates. Anderson served as a visiting professor at numerous universities and was on the boards of several organizations. He endorsed Ralph Nader in 2000 and helped found the Justice Party in 2012.

Early life

Anderson was born in Rockford, Illinois, where he grew up, the son of Mabel Edna (née Ring) and E. Albin Anderson. His father was a Swedish immigrant, as were his maternal grandparents.[1][2][3][4] In his youth, he worked in his family's grocery store.[5] He graduated as the valedictorian of his class at Rockford Central High School.[6] He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 1939, and started law school, but his education was interrupted by World War II.[1] He enlisted in the Army in 1943, and served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Field Artillery in France and Germany until the end of the war, receiving four service stars.[5] After the war, Anderson returned to complete his education, earning a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1946.[7]