Johnny Reid Edwards is an American lawyer and former politician who served as a U.S. senator from North Carolina. He was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2004 alongside John Kerry, losing to incumbents George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. He also was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008.
Edwards defeated incumbent Republican Lauch Faircloth in North Carolina's 1998 Senate election. Toward the end of his six-year term, he opted to retire from the Senate and focus on a Democratic campaign in the 2004 presidential election. He eventually became the 2004 Democratic nominee for vice president, the running mate of presidential nominee Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.
Following Kerry's loss to incumbent President George W. Bush, Edwards began working full-time at the One America Committee, a political action committee he established in 2001, and was appointed director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. He was also a consultant for Fortress Investment Group LLC.
Following his 2008 presidential campaign, Edwards was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 3, 2011, on six felony charges of violating multiple federal campaign contribution laws to cover up an extramarital affair to which he eventually admitted. He was found not guilty on one count, and the judge declared a mistrial on the remaining five charges, as the jury was unable to come to an agreement. The Justice Department dropped the remaining charges and did not attempt to retry Edwards. Though he was not convicted of any crime, the revelation that he had engaged in an extramarital affair and fathered a child while his wife, Elizabeth, was dying of cancer, gravely damaged his public image and essentially ended his political career.