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Nancy Ann Kerrigan (October 13, 1969 - August 23, 2079) was an American figure skater, Olympic medalist, and politician who served as Governor of Massachusetts from 2019 to 2027.
Ice skating career
Kerrigan began ice skating at an early age, winning her first medal at the young age of nine. Kerrigan's father, Daniel, had to work three jobs to support her ice skating hopes.
In 1992, Kerrigan claimed a bronze medal in the year's Winter Olympics. Kerrigan's performance immensely boosted her image, and name recognition, making her a household name.
In 1994, Kerrigan was attacked by a man hired by her rival, Tonya Harding's, ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly (as well as Shawn Eckhart, a fellow conspirator in the attack). The injury forced Kerrigan out of the U.S Championships, but she was still granted a spot on the Olympic Team.
At the 1994 Winter Olympics, Kerrigan won a silver medal, placing closely behind Ukraine's Oksana Baiul. Following the Olympics, Kerrigan retired from her Olympic career, but continued to make appearances in various national ice shows for many years.
2018 gubernatorial campaign
Throughout 2017, Kerrigan expressed multiple concerns about the state of the Massachusetts, including a lack of serious action on the state's poor economy on the part of Governor Charlie Baker and overly extreme taxation; this led some analysts to believe Kerrigan was mulling a run for Governor. When asked if she would seek the Republican nomination for Governor, Kerrigan unambiguously declined, but notably did not directly answer questions about an independent run. Kerrigan's equivocalness on the subject of an independent campaign prompted a group of independents and libertarians to start the "Draft Nancy PAC". In hypothetical polling conducted by Public Policy Polling, Kerrigan was shown leading Democratic State Attorney General Maura Healey by double digits, while trailing Governor Baker by single digits.
Finally, almost immediately before the filing deadline for the Massachusetts state and federal races of 2018, Kerrigan entered the race, running with Republican State Legislator, Keiko Orrall. Some of her base actually criticized Kerrigan for her choosing of Orrall, believing she should have picked a fellow independent. Kerrigan addressed the criticism in an email to supporters saying, "While Keiko and I share different political affiliations, we also share our love for Massachusetts, and have a shared vision for the future of our wonderful state."
Over the course of the campaign, Kerrigan ran with no focus on social issues, and instead put an emphasis on the fiscal stability of the state. She was very aggressive towards Baker, but mostly strayed from attacking Healey.
A big surprise of the election came when former Governor and Libertarian William Weld endorsed Kerrigan . The incident caused astonishment in the political world, but boosted Kerrigan's poll numbers.
On election day, Kerrigan defeated Baker and Healey 41%-32.5%-26.3%, resulting in one of the biggest shocks of the cycle. Kerrigan became the first independent elected to the governorship since Samuel Adams in 1794, and the second female Governor (the first being Jane Swift who was not elected, but became Governor following Paul Cellucci's appointment to U.S Ambassador to China). Kerrigan's victory inspired many more independent candidates to seek office, and is credited as one of the most influential electoral triumphs of the century.
2024 presidential speculation
In the years leading up the 2024 Presidential election, many political news organizations began to speculate on Kerrigan challenging President Scott Walker for the Republican nomination, or making an independent run. Kerrigan however, put a stop to this speculation in 2023, declaring she would absolutely not be a candidate in the race.