Hart, Senator Gary Warren

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .

Gary Hart

(1936 - )

Gary Hart was born Gary Warren Hartpence in Ottawa, Kansas, legally shortening his name in 1961 before running for political office.  He is an American politician, lawyer, author, professor and commentator.

He earned degrees at Bethany Nazarene College in Oklahoma, Yale Divinity School, Yale Law School and St. Antony's College at the University of Oxford.

He practiced law in Colorado and the District of Columbia and served as the assistant to the solicitor of the US Department of the Interior.

He volunteered for John F. Kennedy's campaign for President in 1960, and managed George McGovern's campaign for the presidency in 1972, during which Hart was credited for elevating status to the Iowa caucuses.

He was elected as a Democratic senator from the State of Colorado in 1974 and re-elected in 1980, serving on the Armed Services, the Environment, the Public Work and the Senate Intelligence Committees.

He was a candidate for the presidency in 1984 and again in 1988. In the 1984 election, he narrowly lost the party's nomination to Walter Mondale but was given serious consideration as a running mate.  While considered a front-runner in the latter campaign, he withdrew from the race after extensive publicity about an extra-marital affair.  His candidacy in the 1988 race was announced in 1987 from his home in Kittredge where he lives with his wife, Lee.  The media swarmed the area, and the road sign for Troublesome Gulch disappeared.

He advocated "further investigation and exposure of the alliance between the mob and the US intelligence community," according to Washington, DC columnist David Martin.

Since his retirement as an elected official, he has earned a reputation as a consultant and commentator on post-Cold War national security, terrorism and the environment.

At the request of President Bill Clinton in 1998, Hart was named to a bipartisan commission formed to study America's defense against terrorism. The commission warned that the United States was dangerously vulnerable to terrorist attacks and recommended creation of a cabinet-level National Homeland Security Agency; the report – completed in January of 2001 – was ignored until September of 2001.  Just a week prior to 9/11, Hart had given a speech warning of a terrorist attack "within the next 25 years" that would lead to mass deaths in the US.

In 2006, Hart accepted an endowed professorship at the University of Colorado at Denver.

He has served on the US Commission on National Security/21st Century, Council on Foreign Relations, the US-Russia Commission and on the Advisory Board for Operation, USA.  He is an Honorary Fellow of the Literary & Historical Society at the University College Dublin and an advisory board member for the Partnership for a Secure America.  He also served as Chairman for Threat Reduction Advisory Council and Chairman for Council for a Livable World.  He founded the American Security Project in 2007..

He has written extensively – as a blogger with The Huffington Post, an essayist and as an author of numerous books, many of which are of a historical nature.

  • The Thunder and the Sunshine: Four Seasons in a Burnished Life (Fulcrum Publishing, 2010)
  • Under The Eagle's Wing: A National Security Strategy of the United States for 2009 (Speaker's Corner, 2008)
  • The Courage of Our Convictions: A Manifesto for Democrats by Gary Hart (Time Books, 2006)
  • The Shield and The Cloak: The Security of the Commons (2006)
  • God and Caesar in America: an essay on religion and politics (2005)
  • The Presidency of James Monroe, in the Time Books American Presidency series (2005)
  • The Fourth Power: a new grand strategy for the United States in the 21st century (Oxford University Press, 2004)
  • Restoration of the Republic: the Jeffersonian Ideal in 21st Century America (2002), for which he received a D. Phil. degree from Oxford University
  • The Minuteman: Restoring an Army of the People (1998)
  • The Patriot: An Exhortation to Liberate America from the Barbarians (1996)
  • The Good Fight: The Education of an American Reformer (1995)
  • Russia Shakes the World: The Second Russian Revolution (1991)
  • America Can Win: The Case for Military Reform (1985)
  • A New Democracy : new approaches to the challenges of the 1980s (1983)
  • Right from the Start: A Chronicle of the McGovern Campaign (1973)


  • Durango (2011)
  • I, Che Guevara (2000) (under the pseudonym John Blackthorn)
  • Sins of the Fathers (1999) (under the pseudonym John Blackthorn)
  • The Strategies of Zeus (1985)
  • The Double Man (with former Senator and Secretary of Defense William Cohen, 1984)

Gary was frequently a guest speaker at community groups and was keynote speaker at fundraising events for Bootstraps and Leadership Evergreen.

Sources:  The Internet, personal knowledge of community involvement