Rockford Native and Presidential Candidate John Anderson Dies

Served as State's Attorney and Congressman before running for President

ROCKFORD - John Anderson, the former Winnebago County State's Attorney and Illinois Congressman who ran for President as an independent in 1980, has died according to multiple sources.

Anderson, who was born in Rockford, served as State's Attorney before being elected to Congress as a Republican in 1960.  A staunch conservative at first, Anderson's views gradually changed over time, leading to his split with the Republican party.

In 1980, Anderson ran as an independent for President, gaining enough support as an alternative to the more liberal Democratic Incumbent President Jimmy Carter and conservative Republican Challenger Ronald Reagan to be included in the Presidential Debates. 

Anderson would receive nearly 6 million votes in an election Reagan would win in a landslide.  He would leave politics completely in the years that followed.

Anderson was 95-years-old.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL 16th), who now holds the Congressional seat Anderson held for twenty years, issued the following statement.

“John Anderson dedicated his life to serving the Rockford community and this great nation – and he served us well.

“Before representing IL-16 in the House of Representatives, John Anderson answered the call to serve as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army. He served through the end of World War II and was honored with four battle stars for his valor in combat. Upon returning home to Rockford, Anderson finished his law degree at the University of Illinois. He later became Winnebago County State’s Attorney, and then ran for Congress in 1960.

“His servant leadership and love of country led him to serve as Conference Chairman in House Leadership and eventually to run for President. He believed that his job was worth giving up in order to set a better example of realism in politics. We are better for his candor, his focus, and his honesty – and his pragmatic approach and self-awareness continues to inspire me on a daily basis.

“My thoughts and prayers are with John’s wife and the entire Anderson family. We mourn as a community, and as a nation, on the passing of this great American – The Honorable John B. Anderson.”

 

 

 

 


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