Mike Gravel was a particularly controversial member of the United States Senate. He represented Alaska, and during his tenure in Congress, he won few if any allies. Including among his fellow Democrats.

Gravel hadn't held elected office since leaving the Senate in 1981. Though he did make multiple attempts at the highest elected office, the country has to offer. He was also politically active in other ways, including creating The Gravel Institute, a think tank. Over the weekend, Gravel passed away.

Died on the 26th

Former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel has died in Seaside, California.

The reported cause was multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer. ABC 15 indicates that he'd been in failing health for some time.

Gravel was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1968, defeating incumbent Senator Ernest Gruening in the Democratic primary. He was later re-elected in 1974. According to GovTrack, he tended to side with Democrats on issues solidly. Though he still managed to rankle many of them.

Arguably Gravel's most well-known moment in the Senate was reading the Pentagon Papers into the public record. Among other things, the papers revealed the Johnson administration's attempts to cover up its failings regarding the Vietnam War. Gravel was also a key player in the creation of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.

In 1980, Gravel lost the Democratic primary to former Alaska State Representative Clark Gruening, Ernest Gruening's grandson. The younger Gruening lost the general election to the Republican candidate, former Alaska Economic Development Commissioner Frank Murkowski.

Following his time as a senator, Mike Gravel worked in multiple different fields.

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But he eventually found his way back to politics. Eventually, he unsuccessfully sought the 2008 and the 2020 Democratic Presidential nominations. He also, in 2008, to no avail, made a run at the Libertarian Party's Presidential nomination.

Was speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives

Gravel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, to immigrants from Quebec.

His given first name was Maurice, and he only spoke French for much of his childhood. He also reportedly struggled with undiagnosed dyslexia and failed the third grade. Eventually, Gravel enrolled at Assumption Preparatory School. A Roman Catholic boarding school in nearby Worcester, Massachusetts. There, an English teacher took Gravel under his proverbial wing, markedly improving his grades.

Later, Gravel served in the U.S. Army, reaching the rank of first lieutenant. Afterward, he graduated from New York's Columbia University School of General Studies with a bachelor's degree in economics.

He moved to Alaska when it was still a territory, finding work in real estate and as an Alaska Railroad brakeman.

In 1958, he became president of Alaska's chapter of the Young Democrats. He also unsuccessfully ran for the territorial legislature.

In 1960, post-statehood, Gravel lost a race for a seat on the Anchorage City Council. He was first elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1962. Quickly, he rose to the post of speaker. In 1966, Gravel ran for Alaska's sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Losing to incumbent Ralph Julian Rivers in the Democratic primary. Rivers lost to Republican Howard Wallace Pollock in the general election. Pollock had been the minority whip of the Alaska Senate.