Walter Mondale, who served as vice president under Jimmy Carter before having an unsuccessful bid for the White House in 1984, has died. He was 93.
Mondale passed away on Monday at home in Minneapolis, Minn. surrounded by family, spokesperson Kathy Tunheim said in a statement.
“It is with profound sadness that we share news that our beloved dad passed away today,” Mondale’s family said. “As proud as we were of him leading the presidential ticket for Democrats in 1984, we know that our father’s public policy legacy is so much more than that.”
Mondale acknowledged his death was imminent in a message to his staff, saying his “time has come.”
“I am eager to rejoin Joan and Eleanor. Before I Go I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me. Never has a public servant had a better group of people working at their side! Together we have accomplished so much and I know you will keep up the good fight,” Mondale wrote.
“Joe (Biden) in the White House certainly helps. I always knew it would be okay if I arrived some place and was greeted by one of you!”
The President accepted those words and paid homage to Mondale by calling him a “dear friend and mentor.”
Mondale, a longtime social justice advocate, was also a lawyer who got his start in politics as a member of Minnesota’s Democratic Farmer-Labor Party. In 1960, He was named the state’s attorney general and later filled a seat left vacant in the U.S. Senate by Hubert Humphrey, who was elected as Lyndon Johnson’s vice president in 1964. Mondale stayed in the Senate for another 13 years before he was added as Carter’s running mate in 1976.
He stayed on as Carter’s second-in-command before launching a run for the White House in 1984. California actor-turned-politician Ronald Reagan and Texas Republican George H. W. Bush defeated Carter and Mondale in 1980, as the Democrats looked heavily-divided on their strategy to regain the presidency. They lost the electoral college to the GOP by a margin of 489 to 49.
Mondale’s bid four short years later was even worse with just 13 electoral votes going to the Minnesota Democrat from his home state and the District of Columbia. A series of losses that Democrats wouldn’t recover from until 1992, when Bill Clinton’s southern charm and witty personality helped win back control of the White House.
Mondale would go on to serve as both the US ambassador to Japan and the envoy to Indonesia under Clinton. He retired from life in the public eye in 2003, but remained devoted to serving others in the community. In recent years, the former VP returned to practicing law and was teaching at the University of Minnesota.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Joan Mondale, who died in 2014, and daughter, Eleanor, in 2011.