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Robert J. Healey Jr. (May 3, 1957 – March 20, 2016) was an American attorney, businessman, and political activist. He was the founder of Rhode Island's Cool Moose Party, the state's third-largest political party from 1994 until 2002, and was a perennial candidate for statewide office.[1][2][3][4] Healey ran for governor or lieutenant governor a total of seven times.[5] Running as an independent candidate in 2010, he won 39% of the vote for lieutenant governor, running on a platform of abolishing the office. As the Moderate Party nominee for governor in 2014, Healey won 22% of the vote while spending less than $40 on the campaign.[6]

Robert J. Healey
Robert J. Healey.jpg
Personal details
Born(1957-05-03)May 3, 1957
Providence, Rhode Island,
DiedMarch 20, 2016(2016-03-20) (aged 58)
Barrington, Rhode Island, U.S.
Political partyIndependent (Before 1994)
Cool Moose Party (1994–2014)
Moderate (2014–2016)
EducationRhode Island College (BA)
Boston University (MA)
New England School of Law
Northeastern University (MA)
Columbia University
WebsiteCampaign website

Early life, education and early careerEdit

Robert J. Healey was born in Providence, Rhode Island to Robert J. Healey Sr. and Mary (née Martinelli) Healey on May 3, 1957.[7] His father was a plumber and his mother a factory worker. He grew up in Warren, Rhode Island, and graduated from Warren High School in 1975.[7] He went on to earn a bachelor's degree in English and Secondary Education from Rhode Island College, a master's degree in Reading Education from Boston University (1980), a degree in law from the New England School of Law (1983), and a master's degree in English literature from Northeastern University (1985).[7] In 1983 he began a PhD program at Columbia University, but after he had completed all the requirements, his dissertation supervisor died and he could not find a replacement.[7]

He was elected to the Warren School Committee in 1982, serving as chairman until 1986. His election slogan was "A Strange Man for a Strange Job".[7] He ran for governor as an independent in 1986. After his first run for governor, He was also secretary of the Bristol County Bar association.[5]

Cool Moose PartyEdit

The Cool Moose Party (CMP) was founded by Healey in 1994 during his second gubernatorial campaign.[5] The party's platform is "to break down the ideological barriers that have kept common sense out of our government".[8] Healey won 9% of the vote in 1994. In 1996, twenty CMP candidates ran for office; all were defeated.[citation needed]

In 1998, the Cool Moose Party successfully sued the state of Rhode Island to change its restrictive laws regarding primary elections.[9] Cool Moose Party v. State of Rhode Island has been referenced in other states' court decisions relating to third-party candidates.[10][11]

Healey ran for lieutenant governor in 2002, 2006, and 2010. In 2010 he ran on a platform of abolishing the office, as it has no constitutionally-mandated duties outside of waiting for the governor to become incapacitated.[12] Running against incumbent Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts in that election, Healey won 39% of the vote after Republican Heidi Rogers dropped out so as not to split the "abolish the office" vote.[13][14]

2014 gubernatorial campaignEdit

In September 2014, Healey announced he was running for governor as a Moderate Party candidate. His announcement came after the original Moderate nominee, James Spooner, withdrew from the race for health reasons.[6] Healey stated he would not accept any funding, instead opting for a "guerilla campaign" for a "cerebral revolution".[15] Shortly after he filed his candidacy, the Rhode Island GOP challenged the legality of the move on procedural grounds. The state board of elections found that Healey was in fact eligible to replace Spooner on the ballot.[12] Healey spent a total of only $35.31 on his entire gubernatorial campaign, which he said went to purchase a prepaid mobile phone and a phone card, items he purchased himself.[16] Healey's only advertisement during the campaign was a minimalist billboard featuring a caricature of his face, which he painted himself on the side of his friend's house overlooking Interstate 95 in Providence.[17]

Healey came in 3rd with 21.4% of the election votes.[18]

Other activitiesEdit

Healey has invested in several business ventures. A liquor wholesaling company that he founded with a partner was very successful and Healey sold out his stake and invested in land in South America. He has also exported California wines to Uruguay, imported tableware from Uruguay, started an ice cream business, a wine and cheese outlet, and a yachting service.[7] He wrote a children's book, The King Needs Sleep.[7]

Healey served as secretary of the Bristol County Bar Association from the mid-1980s to the mid-2010s.[7]


Healey was found dead in his bed at his home in Barrington, Rhode Island before midnight on March 20, 2016.[19] He is believed to have died from a heart attack in his sleep.[19] He was 58 years old.[19] He was buried on March 29 next to his parents at St. Alexander's Cemetery in Warren, Rhode Island.[20]

Upon Healey's death, Rhode Island governor—and his 2014 gubernatorial opponent—Gina Raimondo issued a statement to the Providence Journal that she would "miss his passion and willingness to engage in spirited debate."[21]

Electoral historyEdit

Rhode Island gubernatorial election, 1986[22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Edward D. DiPrete (inc.) 208,822 64.7% +3.59%
Democratic Bruce G. Sundlun 104,504 32.4%
Cool Moose Robert J. Healey 5,964 1.8%
Citizens Party Anthony D. Affigne 3,481 1.1%
Rhode Island gubernatorial election, 1994[23]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Lincoln Almond 171,194 47.37% +13.10%
Democratic Myrth York 157,361 43.54% -18.01%
Cool Moose Robert J. Healey 32,822 9.08%
Rhode Island gubernatorial election, 1998[24]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Lincoln Almond (inc.) 156,180 50.97% +3.59%
Democratic Myrth York 129,105 42.13% -1.41%
Cool Moose Robert J. Healey 19,250 6.28%
Reform Joseph F. Devine 1,848 0.60%
Write-ins 62 0.02%
Rhode Island lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2002[25]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Charles J. Fogarty (inc.) 175,218 53.75% +3.59%
Republican John A. Pagliarini, Jr. 80,813 24.79% -1.41%
Cool Moose Robert J. Healey 61,244 18.79%
Green Gregg R. Stevens 8,705 2.67%
Rhode Island lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2006[26]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Elizabeth H. Roberts 202,659 53.07% +13.10%
Republican Reginald A. Centracchio 128,011 33.52% -18.01%
Independent Robert J. Healey 51,220 13.41%
Rhode Island lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2010[27]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Elizabeth H. Roberts 175,640 54.51
Cool Moose Robert Healey 126,063 39.13
Independent Robert P. Venturini 20,295 6.30
Rhode Island gubernatorial election, 2014[28]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Gina M. Raimondo 131,452 40.7
Republican Allan W. Fung 117,106 36.2
Moderate Robert J. Healey, Jr. 69,070 21.4
Independent Kate L. Fletcher 3,474 1.1
Independent Leon M. Kayarian 1,221 0.4
Write-ins 732 0.2


  1. ^ Wroblewski, Sam (September 11, 2014). "NEWS: Bob Healey running for governor for the Moderate Party". WPRO. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  2. ^ Needham, Cynthia; Ziner, Karen Lee (October 30, 2010). "Healey says many states are discussing eliminating the lieutenant governor position". Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  3. ^ Nesi, Ted (December 4, 2010). "Cool Moose Bob Healey makes the NYT". WPRI-TV. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  4. ^ Sulzberger, A. G. (December 3, 2010). "Jokes and Secret Hopes for Lieutenant Governors". The New York Times. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c "Cool Moose Party Records". Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Rhode Island Board of Elections - Election Results". Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "Robert J. Healey". Healey4Governor. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Political party details". Cool Moose Party. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  9. ^ "Cool Moose Party v. State of Rhode Island". United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit. 1999. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  10. ^ "Oklahoma State Election Board v. Libertarian Party of Oklahoma" (PDF). American Bar Association. 1984. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  11. ^ "Libertarian Party of North Dakota v. Jaeger" (PDF). 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  12. ^ a b Gregg, Katherine (17 September 2014). "Healey wins GOP challenge to his Moderate Party candidacy for R.I. governor / poll". Providence Journal. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  13. ^ Edgar, Randal; Gregg, Katherine (September 11, 2014). "Cool Moose Party founder to run for R.I. governor again—this time as Moderate". Providence Journal. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  14. ^ Rogers is reportedly dropping out so that she and Healey don’t split the eliminate-the-LG’s-office vote.
  15. ^ Welch, Catherine (September 11, 2014). "Cool Moose's Bob Healey Running For RI Governor". Rhode Island Public Radio. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  16. ^ "Bob Healey spent $0.0005 for every vote he got". WPRI 12 Eyewitness News. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  17. ^ "Bob Healey puts billboard up on I-95". WPRI. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b c "Bob "Cool Moose" Healey dies at 58". March 21, 2016. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  20. ^ "Robert J. Healey. Jr. was buried today". Facebook. 29 March 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016. Robert J. Healey. Jr. was buried today at noon at St. Alexander's Cemetery in Warren, RI next to his parents Robert Sr. and Mary.
  21. ^ Tempera, Jacqueline. "Cool Moose party founder Robert Healey, R.I. original, has died". Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  22. ^ "General Election November 4, 1986". Rhode Island Board of Elections. 1986. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  23. ^ "General Election Vote for Governor". Rhode Island Board of Elections. 1994. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  24. ^ "Federal and State ("Top of Ticket" only) by Office". Rhode Island Board of Elections. November 3, 1998. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  25. ^ "Lt. Governor". Rhode Island Board of Elections. 2002. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  26. ^ "2006 General Election: Statewide and Federal Races". Rhode Island Board of Elections. 2006. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  27. ^ "2010 General Election". Rhode Island Board of Elections. November 17, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  28. ^ "2014 General Election". Rhode Island Board of Elections. November 17, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.

External linksEdit