It was 1964 when John Glenn decided to leave the NASA space program and run against Senator Stephen M. Young in the Democratic primary. Sadly, he was unable to complete this mission, as he hit his head on a bathtub and received a nasty blow to the head, which also injured the inner part of his ear. Since he needed to recover, he would have to put his political aspirations on the back burner.
The injury that Glenn sustained at his home left him with severe vertigo and caused him to stay in bed while recovering. To keep his political flame lit, his wife (Annie) along with the help of Rene Carpenter, (wife of fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter) , surrogate speeches were held on his behalf in an attempt to keep his campaign going. This took place throughout the end of February and into March. Bad news came by the end of March that he would not be able to recover from his injuries in time to continue on with the campaign. Glenn felt he had no choice but to drop out of the race, which he announced on March 31, 1964.
Thankfully, Glenn fully recovered from his injuries, which took about nine months in order for him to truly regain his health. He spent the time sifting through the piles of mail that he received since his history-changing space flight that placed him on the Friendship 7 spacecraft on February 20, 1962. Thousands upon thousands of letters poured in and when he decided to enter politics, as well as encountered his accident, he received thousands upon thousands in response to these events.
During his recovery, he found 400 of his favorite letters and as a result, a book was published in 1964 with the help of the World Book Encyclopedia. It was titled, ” P.S. I Listened to Your Heartbeat: Letters to John Glenn.”
Additional facts concerning the political career of John Glenn includes:
Once Glenn gained control of his recovery, he continued to feed his interest for politics throughout the 1960s. In 1968, he was a campaigning force with Robert Kennedy.
In 1970, Stephen Young announced that he would not pursue a reelection for another term in the senate, which piqued the interest of Glenn. He once again became a part of the Ohio Democratic primary. He ran against a businessman from Cleveland named Howard H. Metzenbaum who had the support of the Ohio Democratic Party, as well as major labor unions about the state. Since Metzenbaum ran a more organized campaign and had more money, he beat Glenn in a close race in the primary election. In the end, Metzenbaum would lose to Robert Taft (the Republican candidate) in the general election.
During the early 1970s, Glenn was still active in the Ohio Democratic Party.
In 1970, Glenn was appointed to the position of chairman of the Citizens Task Force on Environmental Protection by Ohio Governor John Gilligan. His job was to oversee the investigations of environmental problems that the state of Ohio faced.
Since Glenn was well versed on the topics of military, aviation, and NASA, he became known as a man that was an expert in the US Senate when it came to policy issues involving science and technology.