The Winter Lioness
She's 94. She has emphysema. She has $50,000 in her own money for a campaign fund while her opponent has raised over $2 million in donations.
What's a nice old lady doing running for the Senate seat of New Hampshire?
"I am not a nice old lady!"
SORRY! I most humbly apologize!
The 94-year-old Doris "Granny D" Haddock relishes adventure and near-impossible challenges - once walking across the country despite emphysema brought on by a half-century of smoking.
Five years ago, at 89, she walked across the country crusading for campaign finance reform, trudging through the Mojave Desert, Texas heat and the Appalachians in the thick of winter to reach Washington after 3,200 miles and 14 months. In 2001, she walked around the U.S. Capitol almost nonstop as the Senate debated - and ultimately passed - the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill. Her most recent exploit was traveling the country in a camper, registering women and minorities to vote.
Now Haddock has taken on another Herculean task: She is trying to unseat Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, one of New Hampshire's most popular politicians. She entered the race at the last minute after the expected Democratic nominee dropped out, leaving Gregg essentially unopposed in November in his bid for a third term. (Gregg has token opposition in the Sept. 14 GOP primary, while Haddock has none.)
She embarked Thursday on a 200-mile walk through New Hampshire to promote her candidacy, sent off by a marching band and about 100 well-wishers. Haddock plans to walk five miles each morning and campaign by car the rest of the day.
"If you want something done right today, you have to run for Congress yourself - or at least send your grandmother," said Haddock, who has 16 great-grandchildren. "I am the angry grandmother come off my porch to ask young Judd what in the world he is thinking when he supports Bush's military misadventures, supports the transfer of billions of our tax dollars to billionaires and supports the shipping of our jobs overseas," Haddock said in announcing her candidacy this summer.
Haddock vehemently opposes the war in Iraq, and calls Gregg "an enabler of George Bush's neo-con scourge." The daughter of a warehouse worker, she decries the flight of good jobs overseas that is making us "a nation of Wal-Mart greeters."
Despite her grass-roots support, Haddock faces long odds against Gregg. A WMUR-TV poll by the University of New Hampshire last month had Gregg leading Haddock, 65 percent to 20 percent, with 15 percent undecided. Her campaign is unconventional - some staffers live in tents on her property and her headquarters is her living room. But it got a big boost recently when Joe Trippi, Howard Dean's Internet-savvy former campaign manager, began volunteering as Haddock's principal strategist. The campaign has already adopted some of Dean's Internet fund-raising techniques.
"She's very uplifting. She makes people feel that there's hope," said Dorothy Solomon, a county Democratic chairwoman who recently had Haddock and Dean speak at a fund-raiser.
If she pulls off the upset, Haddock says she will serve only one term. She turns 101 at the end of her term. "If Gregg loses it would arguably be the largest political upset this century," UNH pollster Andrew Smith said.
If anyone can pull this off, it will be the incredible Granny D!
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