Breaking News
More () »

Meet the Democratic presidential candidate who isn't trying to win

Mike Gravel is one of 22 candidates running for the Democratic nomination -- except he doesn't want it.

He's one of 22 people currently running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. But one thing makes Mike Gravel different from the 21 others.

He's not trying to win.

Gravel, who served two terms in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1981, announced his candidacy on April 2 to little fanfare. Gravel, who turned 89 Monday, says his goal is simply to make it to the presidential debates, which start next month, and to push the Democratic platform to the left.

RELATED: Who is running for president in 2020 so far?

"He is not seeking to contest any primaries, but rather to qualify for the debates, push the field toward sane views on American imperialism and the need for fundamental political reform, and then endorse the most progressive candidate," Gravel's campaign website reads.

His campaign says all money that is raised is being spent on expenses, with leftover funds being donated to get clean water to Flint, Mich.

Gravel's top campaign platform is an effort to end American involvement in wars -- not just those in Iraq and Afghanistan but also the war on drugs. He cites the cost as one of the reasons.

Gravel's campaign says he is trying to reach the minimum donation requirement to get on the stage for the first debates. The first two will be two-night events on June 26-27 and July 30-31. There will be a maximum of 10 candidates on stage each night, which means no more than 20 total.

There are two ways to get onto the debate stage:

Polling: A candidate must get at least 1% support in three designated polls -- either national or polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada, which are the first four primary states.

Donations: A candidate must have at least 65,000 unique donors. That must include a minimum of at least 200 donors per state in at least 20 states.

Candidates who reach both of these thresholds will get priority. Of the remaining candidates who only reach one of the two, priority will be given to the highest polling average, followed by donations.

The campaign tweeted on May 7 it had reached 30,000 donations, 35,000 shy of the minimum needed with six weeks before the first debate.

Since he's not planning to even be part of the primaries, who would Gravel potentially endorse?

"Tulsi Gabbard, in my mind, is the most ideal person to become president," he told The Hill's "Rising." last week. "She's got six years experience on the Foreign Relations Committee, on the Armed Services Committee. She had the guts to take on Barack Obama over a military issue. She's been in the service, she's a major in the reserves, she's had two tours of duty in Iraq."

Gravel also said Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is a lifelong independent running for the Democratic nomination, would be another choice he could get behind.

"I think he's got a great domestic agenda," Gravel told "Rising." "I thought, back then, he was a little weak on foreign policy. He himself has admitted that he was weak on foreign policy, and he's trying to bring himself up to speed."

This is not Gravel's first run for president. He appeared in Democratic debates in 2007 but did not win any of the 2008 primaries. He then switched to the Libertarian party in early 2008 but failed to earn that party's presidential nomination.

Before You Leave, Check This Out