Facts about Walter Mondale
Walter “Fritz” Mondale Biography
Democrat Walter Mondale was a U.S. senator, vice president, presidential candidate, and ambassador in his long career in politics.
Walter Mondale was born in Minnesota and got involved in Minnesota politics in 1948, when he helped elect Hubert H. Humphrey to the U.S. Senate. Mondale graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in political science in 1951, served in the U.S. Army, and then got a law degree from the same school in 1956.
Mondale was appointed state attorney general for Minnesota in 1960, and when Sen. Humphrey was chosen to be Lyndon Johnson‘s vice president in 1964, Mondale was named to Humphrey’s seat in the Senate. Mondale was then elected in his own right in 1966 and re-elected in 1972. He then served as vice president under Jimmy Carter from 1977-81.
Carter lost to Ronald Reagan in 1980, and in 1984 Mondale became the Democratic Party’s nominee to run against Reagan. Mondale made history by choosing Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate, making her the first woman ever on a major-party presidential ticket. Mondale made history in a different way on Election Day, winning only 13 electoral votes to Reagan’s 525. It remains the greatest margin of victory in U.S. presidential history.
Walter Mondale returned to practicing law. During the administration of fellow Democrat Bill Clinton, Mondale was the U.S. Ambassador to Japan (1993-97). In 2002, when Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash 11 days before Election Day, Mondale stepped into the race in his place, but lost to Republican Norm Coleman.
Norway named Mondale its Honorary Consul General in Minneapolis in 2007. He published a memoir, The Good Fight – A Life in Liberal Politics, in 2010.
Walter Mondale’s nickname was “Fritz”… He married the former Joan Adams on December 27, 1955, and they remained married until her death in 2014. They had three children: Theodore (b. 1957), Eleanor (b. 1960) and William (b. 1962). Eleanor Mondale was a TV and radio personality until her death from brain cancer in 2011.
4 Good Links
- His 2021 obituary from The Washington Post
- Basic biographical information from the U.S. Senate
- History.com recounts Mondale's 1984 pick for running mate
- Straight-forward accounting of his career, from proud Norwegians