Malcom Stevenson Forbes Jr., known to the world at large as Steve Forbes, is the heir of the Forbes media and publishing dynasty and a two-time candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States.
Steve was born in Morristown, New Jersey on July 18, 1947. He was the son of late media mogul Malcom Forbes, best known today as the founder and publisher of Forbes magazine. He grew up in New Jersey on a large estate and demonstrated an interest in politics at an early age, constantly taking polls and holding mock elections with his stuffed animals. He attended boarding school in Andover, Massachusetts, where he became editor of the school newspaper his senior year.
He went on to Princeton in 1966 and received a bachelor's degree in American history from there in 1970. After college, he married Sabina Beckham, a daughter of a minister, in 1971, and he served in the National Guard until 1976, seeing limited active duty. After his military experience, Steve returned to the family publishing business and quickly became his father's right hand man, gradually assuming control when his father's health began to fail in the 1980's. In 1990, when Malcom Forbes Sr. died, Steve gained majority head of Forbes Inc., gaining 51% of the company stock as his inheritance. Also over this twenty year span, Steve and Sabina had five children: Elizabeth, Moira, Catherine, Sabina, and Roberta.
In 1992, Steve was named a trustee at Princeton, but his biggest focus that year was on the presidential campaign, which featured third party candidate Ross Perot throwing his hat into the ring. Perot had a strong and realistic chance of winning both despite and because of his odd demeanor, look, character, and perspective on the issues. Over the next two years, Steve strongly considered a run for President himself, finally throwing his hat into the ring in 1995 for the Republican nomination for president.
Running on his own money, Forbes mounted an interesting campaign on the more liberal side of the Republican party. He argued in favor of a flat tax for income tax purposes and was quite open on traditionally closed conservative issues such as abortion. His unorthodox campaign style was perhaps capped off by a very well done April 1996 appearance as guest host of the sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live.
Even with many strong endorsements from within the party (most notably Jack Kemp), Forbes lost the nomination that year to Bob Dole. He vowed to run again, and he did in 2000, this time with a more serious demeanor and a more conservative stand on many issues. He remained a champion of the flat tax, however, and he received solid voter support in the early primary states. However, his momentum was bowled over largely by John McCain, who swept up the dissatisfied Republican votes that were rejecting the ideas of the eventual winner and future president, George W. Bush. Again, Forbes dropped out of the race without the nomination.
Regardless of what happens in the future, Steve Forbes' legacy will revolve around his two attempts at running for the presidency and his stewardship over the Forbes publishing empire.