Eugene Joseph "Gene" McCarthy (March 29, 1916 – December 10, 2005) was an American politician, poet, and a long-time member of the United States Congress from Minnesota. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949 to 1959 and the U.S. Senate from 1959 to 1971.
In the 1968 presidential election, McCarthy was the first candidate to challenge incumbent Lyndon Johnson for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, running on an anti-Vietnam War platform. The unexpected vote total he achieved in the New Hampshire primary and his strong polling in the upcoming Wisconsin primary led Johnson to withdraw from the race, and lured Robert Kennedy into the contest. Vice PresidentHubert Humphrey (a fellow Minnesotan) also entered the race after Johnson's withdrawal, ultimately defeating McCarthy handily at the party's nominating convention. After leaving the Senate in 1972, McCarthy would unsuccessfully seek the presidency four more times. He died in 2005.