William E. Miller

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Bill Miller
43rd Chair of the Republican National Committee
In office
June 2, 1961 – June 15, 1964
Preceded by Thruston Morton
Succeeded by Dean Burch
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 40th district
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1965
Preceded by Kenneth Keating
Succeeded by Henry P. Smith III
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 42nd district
In office
January 3, 1951 – January 3, 1953
Preceded by William L. Pfeiffer
Succeeded by John R. Pillion
Personal details
Born William Edward Miller
(1914-03-22)March 22, 1914
Lockport, New York, U.S.
Died June 24, 1983(1983-06-24) (aged 69)
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Resting place Arlington National Cemetery
Political party Republican
Stephanie Wagner (m. 1943)
Children 4, including Stephanie
Education University of Notre Dame (BA)
Union University, New York (LLB)

William Edward Miller (March 22, 1914 – June 24, 1983) was a New York politician. He was the Republican Party nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 1964 election.[1] He was the only Catholic vice presidential nominee of the Republican Party until Paul Ryan in 2012.

Life and career

Miller was born in Lockport, New York, the son of Elizabeth (Hinch), who owned a small millinery shop, and Edward J. Miller, a factory floor sweeper.[2][3] His paternal grandparents were German immigrants, and his mother was of Irish descent.[4] Miller attended the University of Notre Dame and Albany Law School of Union University, New York. He served in the United States Army during World War II and later helped prosecute German war criminals at the Nuremberg trials. He served as an assistant district attorney of Niagara County, New York from 1946 to 1948. Governor Thomas E. Dewey appointed Miller district attorney of in January 1948, and Miller won election to a full term in November. In 1950, Miller ran successfully for the United States House of Representatives; he served from 1951 to 1965 and was chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1961 to 1964.

Miller's seventh House term coincided with the 1964 presidential election. The Republican presidential nominee, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, chose Miller to be his running mate. In Goldwater's telling, this was simply because "he drives Johnson nuts" with his Republican activism. But by some other accounts, Johnson "was barely aware of Miller's existence." Miller's Eastern roots and Catholic faith balanced the ticket in some ways, but ideologically he was conservative like Goldwater. His relative obscurity—"he was better known for snipes at President Kennedy than for anything else"—gave birth to the refrain "Here's a riddle, it's a killer / Who the hell is William Miller?"[5]

Following the defeat of the Goldwater-Miller ticket, Miller returned to his hometown of Lockport, where he resumed his law practice. He also appeared in one of the first "Do you know me?" commercials for American Express.[6] Mark Z. Barabak suggests that by the time he died, Miller was "better known for his advertising appearance than his years in Congress."[7] He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

He and his wife, Stephanie (Wagner), had three daughters and one son.[8] His youngest daughter, Stephanie Miller, was a stand-up comedian in the 1980s, CNBC and late night TV host in the 1990s and is now a nationally syndicated liberal radio talk show host based on the West Coast. His son, William E. Miller, Jr., ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the House of Representatives in 1992 and 1994 to represent New York's 29th district.[9]

Electoral history

New York's 42nd district, 1950[10]

  • William E. Miller (R) – 75,377 (58.57%)
  • Mary Louise Nice (D) – 53,310 (41.43%)

New York's 40th district, 1952[11]

  • William E. Miller (R) – 102,565 (59.64%)
  • E. Dent Lackey (D) – 69,087 (40.17%)
  • John Touralchuk (American Labor) – 329 (0.19%)

New York's 40th district, 1954[12]

  • William E. Miller (R) (inc.) – 77,016 (60.92%)
  • Mariano A. Lucca (D) – 46,956 (37.14%)
  • Louis Longo (Liberal) – 2,233 (1.77%)
  • Nick Curtis (American Labor) – 222 (0.18%)

New York's 40th district, 1956[13]

  • William E. Miller (R) (inc.) – 117,051 (64.34%)
  • A. Thorne Hills (D) – 64,872 (35.66%)

New York's 40th district, 1958[14]

  • William E. Miller (R) (inc.) – 90,066 (60.80%)
  • Mariano A. Lucca (D) – 54,728 (36.94%)
  • Hel J. Di Pota (Liberal) – 3,354 (2.26%)

New York's 40th district, 1960[15]

  • William E. Miller (R) (inc.) – 104,752 (53.62%)
  • Mariano A. Lucca (D) – 85,005 (43.51%)
  • Albert J. Taylor (Liberal) – 5,621 (2.88%)

New York's 40th district, 1962[16]

  • William E. Miller (R) (inc.) – 72,706 (52.04%)
  • E. Dent Lackey (D) – 67,004 (47.96%)

United States presidential election, 1964

See also


  1. ^ Fitzgerald, Libby. "William E. Miller: The Man Who Wanted To Be Vice President". Notre Dame Magazine. Archived from the original on 2006-12-12. Retrieved 2007-01-07. 
  2. ^ "Fighter for His Party; William Edward Miller". The New York Times. January 22, 1960. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 12, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  4. ^ "Person Details for William Edward Miller in household of Edward J Miller, "United States Census, 1920" — FamilySearch.org". Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  5. ^ Perlstein, Rick (2002). Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus. p. 389. 
  6. ^ Guess Who?, Time (Feb. 17, 1975)
  7. ^ Barabak, Mark Z. (20 June 2016). "Ticket to the White House or political oblivion? The challenge for Donald Trump as he seeks a running mate". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  8. ^ McGill, Douglas C. "EX-REP. WILLIAM MILLER, 69, DIES; GOLDWATER'S 1964 RUNNING MATE". Retrieved 2018-06-04. 
  9. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum. "The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians: Miller, U to Z". Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  10. ^ "Our Campaigns - NY District 42 Race - Nov 07, 1950". Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  11. ^ "Our Campaigns - NY District 40 Race - Nov 04, 1952". Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  12. ^ "Our Campaigns - NY District 40 Race - Nov 02, 1954". Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  13. ^ "Our Campaigns - NY District 40 Race - Nov 06, 1956". Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  14. ^ "Our Campaigns - NY District 40 Race - Nov 04, 1958". Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  15. ^ "Our Campaigns - NY District 40 Race - Nov 08, 1960". Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  16. ^ "Our Campaigns - NY District 40 Race - Nov 06, 1962". Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  • Fitzgerald, Libby Miller (2004). Bill Miller: Do You Know Me? A Daughter Remembers. Warwick House. ISBN 1-890306-73-8. 

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
William L. Pfeiffer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 42nd congressional district

Succeeded by
John R. Pillion
Preceded by
Kenneth Keating
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 40th congressional district

Succeeded by
Henry P. Smith III
Party political offices
Preceded by
Thruston Morton
Chair of the Republican National Committee
Succeeded by
Dean Burch
Preceded by
Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.
Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States
Succeeded by
Spiro Agnew
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