John B. Anderson
was born and raised in Rockford.
In 1960, he was elected to Congress representing Illinois' 16th district. He held that
position for ten years, before entering the presidential race in 1980.
Anderson ran as an
independent, against Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Even though Reagan won the
made a strong showing. Midway Village Museum Curator of Education Mark Herman
says, "He was the first serious independent candidate. He got 7% of the vote
which is over 6 million votes." Midway
has a unique display featuring Rockford's
one and only presidential candidate. "We have debate buttons with Reagan. We
have Newsweek Magazine cover about the Anderson
factor about having a third party candidate...Time magazine." Along with all kinds of campaign memorabilia
from Frisbees to bumper stickers.
Anderson went on to become a visiting professor at a series of universities.