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Ralph Nader Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the life of consumer advocate and former candidate for president Ralph Nader.


Birth date: February 27, 1934

Birth place: Winsted, Connecticut

Birth name: Ralph Nader

Father: Nathra Nader

Mother: Rose (Bouziane) Nader

Education: Princeton University, A.B., 1955, Harvard Law School, L.L.B., 1958

Military: US Army, 1959

Other Facts

Writer and attorney.

Green Party presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000; Independent candidate in 2004 and 2008.

Speaks Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian.

Son of Lebanese immigrants.


Early 1960s Practices law in Hartford, Connecticut.

1961-1963 Lectures at Hartford University.

1964 Is hired by Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan as a consultant on auto safety.

1965 Publishes “Unsafe at Any Speed,” an indictment of the auto industry in Detroit. Nader accuses car makers of putting style ahead of safety in the design of their cars. He focuses specifically on the Chevrolet Corvair.

February 10, 1966 Testifies before a Senate subcommittee on auto safety.

March 1966 – James Roche, president of General Motors, apologizes in front of the Senate for hiring private investigators to spy on Nader.

September 9, 1966 President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act into law.

1967 Lobbies Congress to pass the Wholesome Meat Act, increasing inspections of slaughterhouses and meat processing plants.

1967-1968 Lectures at Princeton University.

1969 Helps establish the Center for Responsive Law, a non-profit studying consumer issues.

1970 Settles a harassment lawsuit against GM for $425,000.

December 29, 1970 Congress establishes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which had been strongly lobbied for by Nader.

1971 Founds Public Citizen Inc., a consumer lobbying group.

1971 – After the first Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) are launched in Oregon and Minnesota, Nader co-authors with Donald Ross “Action for a Change,” a how-to guide for helping students establish state-based PIRGs.

August 19, 1996 Is nominated as the Green Party’s candidate for president.

November 1996 Receives 685,000 votes (.71%) in the presidential election.

June 25, 2000 Is again nominated as the Green Party candidate for president.

November 2000 Receives 2.8 million votes in the 2000 presidential election, approximately 2.75% of the vote. Is on the ballot in 33 states and the District of Columbia as the Green Party candidate and is listed as an Independent on the ballots of eight states.

January 2001 Establishes the League of Fans, a sports reform and advocacy project.

February 22, 2004 Announces he is running for president as an Independent.

August 9, 2004 Two lawsuits are filed in Pennsylvania on behalf of Democratic voters challenging Nader’s petitions to get on Pennsylvania’s ballot, alleging that thousands of the signatures are forged or fictitious.

October 13, 2004 A state court removes Nader from Pennsylvania’s presidential ballot, citing thousands of fraudulent signatures.

November 2, 2004 Gets 411,304 votes (1%) in the presidential election. Is on the ballot in 34 states and the District of Columbia.

January 2005 A judge orders Nader and his running mate, Peter Camejo, to pay over $80,000 in legal fees incurred by a group who challenged Nader’s petitions to get on the Pennsylvania ballot.

October 30, 2007 Sues the Democratic National Committee, the Kerry-Edwards campaign, the PAC America Coming Together and others in District of Columbia Superior Court, alleging that they conspired to keep him off the ballot in several states and from “taking votes away” from nominee John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.

November 27, 2007 – Nader’s DC Superior Court lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee and others is moved to District of Columbia federal district court.

December 3, 2007 Nader’s DC federal district court case against the Democratic National Committee and others is dismissed by Judge Jennifer Anderson before the initial scheduling conference.

January 30, 2008 Launches a presidential exploratory committee website for the 2008 election.

February 24, 2008 Nader announces that he is running for president as an independent.

February 28, 2008 Nader chooses former San Francisco Board of Supervisors president Matt Gonzalez as his running mate.

May 2008 Nader files an administrative complaint with the Federal Election Commission against the Democratic National Committee and others that they “conspired to deny him and his running mate ballot access in numerous states as candidates for President and Vice President in the 2004 general election” which they say is against the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.

November 4, 2008 Nader loses in the presidential election with little to no impact on the electoral map.

November 2009 Nader files a Superior Court lawsuit in Washington County, Maine against the Democratic National Committee, the Maine Democratic Party, the Kerry-Edwards campaign, and others alleging the defendants used illegal tactics to attempt to keep Nader off the ballot in Maine and other states.

June 11, 2010 Nader loses his May 2008 complaint against the FEC and files charges against the Federal Election Commission in DC federal district court.

November 16, 2010 A judge in Maine dismisses a November 2009 lawsuit filed by Nader that accuses Democrats of conspiring to keep him off the ballot in the 2004 presidential race.

June 2011 Relaunches the League of Fans, his sports reform project, and as part of an 11-part sports manifesto, pledges to bring an antitrust suit against the Bowl Championship Series.

November 9, 2011 Nader loses his June 2010 federal case against the FEC and files an appeal.

April 19, 2012 Maine Supreme Judicial Court overturns the 2010 dismissal of the 2009 Superior Court lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee and others.

September 20, 2012 Maine Superior Court Justice Kevin M. Cuddy rules that the 2009 lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee and others will go to trial.

April 2012 Informally endorses former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson for president during a press conference.

May 23, 2013 – The Maine Supreme Court orders that Nader’s lawsuit against the Democratic Party be dismissed.

March 19, 2014-present – Cohosts the Ralph Nader Radio Hour on Pacifica Radio Network.

April 29, 2014 – Publishes a new book, “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.”

September 27, 2015 – Nader opens the American Museum of Tort Law in his Winsted, Connecticut, hometown.

July 21, 2016 – Nader is inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

April 7, 2020 – “The Ralph Nader and Family Cookbook: Classic Recipes from Lebanon and Beyond” is published.

June 30, 2020 – In a New York Times letter to the editor, Nader reacts to an article condemning the Trump administration’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Nader calls for “President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to step aside and let professional public health specialists manage the federal effort against the Covid-19 pandemic.”

November 14, 2023 – Nader’s book “The Rebellious CEO: 12 Leaders Who Did It Right” is published.

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