Based out of Cedar Key for much of his time on the political stage, Gargan became politically active in the early 1990s when he was in his early 60s, including serving as one of the leaders of the movement to draft Ross Perot into the 1992 presidential race.
Gargan created Throw the Hypocritical Rascals Out (THRO), a group which supported defeating every congressional incumbent and passing term limits.
Gargan launched a primary challenge to Gov. Lawton Chiles in 1994, taking 28 percent in the Democratic primary despite spending less than $70,000. Gargan pulled 34 percent when he ran for Congress on the Reform Party line in 1998. As an ally of Gov. Jesse Ventura, I-Minn., and drawing some opposition from the Perot camp, Gargan served as national chairman of the Reform Party before being ousted by allies of conservative commentator Pat Buchanan who was the party's presidential candidate in 2000.