John McConnell Wolfe Jr. (April 21, 1954 – September 4, 2023) was an American attorney and perennial political candidate. Born in 1954, Wolfe made multiple bids for public office throughout his life but never successfully won an election. He lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and never married or had children. He passed away on September 4, 2023, at the age of 69.

Political Career

Democratic Party’s 2012 Presidential Nomination

Wolfe gained national prominence when he challenged President Barack Obama for the Democratic Party’s 2012 presidential nomination. Although he did not win, he emerged as the most successful challenger to Obama, receiving the second-highest number of delegates (23) and popular votes (116,639).

Other Political Campaigns

1998 Congressional Campaign

Wolfe made his first significant foray into politics in 1998 when he ran for the Democratic congressional nomination in Tennessee’s 3rd district. He was unsuccessful in this endeavor.

2001 Mayoral Race

In 2001, Wolfe ran for Mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee. He received 2.8% of the vote in a race that was ultimately won by Bob Corker.

2002 & 2004 Congressional Campaigns

Wolfe once again ran for Congress in Tennessee’s 3rd district in 2002. This time, he was the Democratic nominee facing off against the incumbent Republican U.S. Representative Zach Wamp. Wolfe lost, garnering 34% of the vote. He faced Wamp again in a 2004 rematch and was once again defeated, this time acquiring 33% of the vote.

2007 State Senate Campaign

In 2007, Wolfe ran in a special election for a Tennessee State Senate seat but was not successful.

2010 Congressional Campaign

In 2010, Wolfe made another bid for Congress in Tennessee’s 3rd district. He lost to Chuck Fleischmann, with Fleischmann capturing 57% of the vote to Wolfe’s 28%.

Legal Issues

Wolfe was fined $10,000 in 2008 for failing to file a fourth-quarter campaign finance disclosure report for his 2007 State Senate campaign, as required by law.

2016 Presidential Primary

Wolfe also made a second run for the Democratic presidential primaries in 2016, although details of his performance in this race are not specified.


Despite never winning an election, Wolfe’s various campaigns have made him a well-known figure in Tennessee politics and in Democratic Party circles. His 2012 challenge to President Obama remains his most high-profile political endeavor.

John McConnell Wolfe Jr. leaves behind a legacy of passionate political engagement, even though he never secured public office.