Politicians who have battled depression

Former Montgomery County executive Doug Duncan is running to regain his old position — and spending lots of time on the campaign trail talking about the severe depression that led him to quit political life in 2006.

Duncan is the first candidate in the Washington region to make his mental illness an integral part of his presentation to voters. If he wins, he will join just a small handful of U.S. officials elected after disclosing  a psychological ailment. Here is a look at politicians whose careers have been defined, in part, by their struggles with mental illness in the public spotlight.

Missouri Sen. Thomas Eagleton

Sen. George S. McGovern, right, and his presidential running mate Sen. Thomas F. Eagleton at the Democratic National Convention in 1972. Eagleton later withdrew from the race. (AP Photo)
Sen. George S. McGovern, right, and his presidential running mate Sen. Thomas F. Eagleton at the Democratic National Convention in 1972. Eagleton later withdrew from the race. (AP Photo)

Eagleton was dropped from the vice presidential spot on the 1972 Democratic ticket after reports of his electro-shock treatment for depression.

Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles 


Former Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles, left, testifies on Capitol Hill Monday Dec. 8, 1997 before a House subcommittee. (AP Photo/Joe Marquette)

In the 1990s, Chiles (D) was twice elected governor of Florida after retiring from the U.S. Senate, being diagnosed with depression and taking the anti-depressant Prozac.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton


Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton. (MPR Photo/Nikki Tundel)

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) was elected governor of Minnesota in 2010 after leaving the Senate and revealing his experience with depression and alcoholism.

Rep. Lynn Rivers


Rep. Lynn Rivers in her office in May 1996. (James M. Thresher/The Washington Post).

Voters returned Lynn Rivers (D) of Michigan to Congress after she spoke openly about her bipolar disorders.

Rep. Patrick Kennedy


Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) meets with staff and constituents from Rhode Island in his office on Capitol Hill on Feb. 23, 2010.

Voters returned Patrick Kennedy (D) of Rhode Island to Congress after speaking openly about his bipolar disorders.

D.C. Council Chairman John A. Wilson


Newly elected D.C. Council Chairman John A. Wilson and Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon give a press conference on Nov. 7, 1990. (Dayna Smith/The Washington Post)

Wilson (D) began to speak publicly about his long fight with depression in the months before  his 1993 suicide.

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.

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