Alan Keyes was born at a naval hospital on Long Island on August 7, 1950. Keyes received a doctorate in government affairs from Harvard University before joining the Reagan administration. He ran for the Republican presidential nomination several times—in 1996, 2000 and 2008—and rose to prominence as a controversial conservative radio and television host.
Alan Lee Keyes was born at a naval hospital on Long Island on August 7, 1950. He was the fifth child of Allison and Gerthina Keyes, a sergeant in the U.S. Army. The family moved frequently as a consequence of Gerthina's military career.
Keyes attended Cornell University, where he studied political philosophy. He actively opposed campus protests against the Vietnam War, in which his father and brothers served. He ultimately transferred to Harvard University, from which he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in government affairs.
A year before completing his doctoral studies, Keyes joined the State Department, working with United Nations Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. His posts included Mumbai, India and Zimbabwe. President Ronald Reagan subsequently appointed Keyes to several diplomatic positions with the United Nations.
Keyes accepted the Republican nomination for a Maryland Senate seat in 1988 and 1992. He lost both races.
In 1996, Keyes sought the Republican presidential nomination. His candidacy was intended to draw attention to the issue of abortion. His outspoken criticism of other Republican candidates was unpopular within his own party. Keyes ran in the Republican presidential primary in 2000 on a pro-life, family values platform. While he failed to clinch the nomination, Keyes did well in several states, finishing third in the Iowa caucuses and receiving 20 percent of the vote in Utah.
In August 2004, the Illinois Republican Party drafted Alan Keyes to run against Barack Obama for the U.S. Senate. Obama defeated Keyes.
Keyes again ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. He ultimately earned two delegates to the Republican National Convention.
In March 2008, Keyes left the Republican Party and joined the Constitution Party. He lost the party's nomination to Chuck Baldwin. His supporters then formed a new group, America's Independent Party, which was only on the ballot in three states.
On November 14, 2008, Keyes filed a lawsuit charging Barack Obama with fraudulent misrepresentation of his place of birth. Keyes refused to recognize Obama as the president, and has called him a "usurper" and a "radical communist."
In addition to his political work, Keyes has hosted several syndicated radio and television programs. He also appeared in the 2006 film Borat.
Keyes is married to Jocelyn Marcel Keyes, originally from Calcutta. The couple has three children: Francis, Maya and Andrew. Keyes is a traditional Catholic.