Donna Rice

Donna Rice

Donna Rice Hughes (born January 7, 1958) was a figure in the 1987 sex scandal that ended the second presidential campaign of Gary Hart. Since the mid-1990s, she has worked as an anti-pornography activist.

Early years

The daughter of a highway engineer and secretary, Rice lived in Florida, Georgia (in Atlanta), and South Carolina. A self-described over-achiever, she began a modeling career at age 13 and worked at getting straight A's in high school while attending church and working in clothing stores.

Rice graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1980, where she was both an honors student and cheerleader. Of her senior year, however, she said: "I began to compromise my Christian values — partying and dating guys who weren't Christians." [ "Enough Is Enough: Donna Rice Hughes"] Interview by Ramona Cramer Tucker, Christianity Today International/"Christian Reader Woman" magazine, September/October 1996, Vol. 18, No. 5, Page 42]

After graduating college, Rice stopped attending church. She reports being raped by an older man she was dating, but she was too ashamed to tell anyone. She says the rape was "the turning point in my life, the catalyst that propelled me further into an unhealthy lifestyle". . After winning the Miss South Carolina World beauty pageant, she went to New York City to compete in the national event. She did not win, but remained in New York and pursued an acting and modeling career.

In 1982, Rice moved to Miami, where she worked as a television actress, for a pharmaceutical company and for a small marketing business. In March 1987, she met former Senator Gary Hart at a Miami fundraiser.

ex scandal

Soon after meeting Rice, Hart announced his candidacy for President of the United States. Having put up a surprisingly strong fight in 1984 against the eventual nominee, former Vice President Walter Mondale, he was perceived as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 1988. But rumors quickly began circulating about Hart's infidelity to his wife, leading the candidate to challenge the media to follow him around and saying that anybody who did so would "be very bored." The day before that dare appeared in "The New York Times", two reporters for the "Miami Herald" observed Rice coming out of Hart's Washington, DC townhouse and published the story on the day the dare appeared in print. Hart contended that the reporters had no way of knowing when Rice arrived or what she was doing there, but his popularity still took a major hit, and polls immediately found him 10 points behind Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis. Two days after the story broke, the "Herald" obtained photographs of Rice sitting in Hart's lap in Bimini aboard a motor yacht called "Monkey Business". The "National Enquirer" published the photographs, and just five days later, Hart dropped out of the race. [,9171,964394,00.html "Stakeouts And Shouted Questions"] , By RICHARD ZOGLIN, May 18, 1987, "Time Magazine"] [,9171,964359,00.html "Fall from Grace"] , By WALTER SHAPIRO, May 18, 1987, "Time Magazine"]

As a result of the scandal, Rice lost her job as a marketing representative for a pharmaceutical company in South Florida. [ "Donna Rice Hughes says enough is enough"] , By Amy Debra Feldman, September 12, 2000, "Salon Magazine"] However other offers flowed in; she refused most, including a Playboy appearance, but worked as a national spokesmodel for No Excuses jeans until Hart's unsuccessful re-entry into the presidential race in December 1987. [ "Rice Loses Her Job"] , "The New York Times", December 16, 1987]

After the scandal

Rice met her future husband, Jack Hughes, on a blind date in 1991, and they married on May 7, 1994.

From 1994 to 1999, she worked as Communications Director and Vice President of "Enough Is Enough", a nonprofit organization dedicated to stopping pornography, assisting victims, and campaigning "to make the Internet safer for children and families." [ "Donna Rice Hughes, President of Enough Is Enough"] 2001 biography from] In 1999, Rice Hughes was appointed by then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) to a congressional panel. [ "Congress Aims to Protect Kids Online"] , November 24, 2004, "Washington Post"] As of 2005, she is the volunteer president of "Enough is Enough" and has co-written a book entitled "Kids Online: Protecting Your Children in Cyberspace" (ISBN 0-8007-5672-X).


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