Rob Miller (South Carolina politician)

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Rob Miller
2010 Democratic nominee for United States House of Representatives
Preceded by Self
Succeeded by None[1]
Constituency 2nd District
2008 Democratic nominee for United States House of Representatives
Preceded by Michael Ray Ellisor
Succeeded by Self
Constituency 2nd District
Personal details
Born (1974-08-28) August 28, 1974 (age 40)[2]
Charleston, South Carolina
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Shane
Residence Beaufort, South Carolina[3]
Alma mater University of South Carolina,
Norwich University
Occupation Shop owner; former United States Marine Corps officer[4]
Website Rob Miller for Congress

Robert Lauransom "Rob" Miller (born August 28, 1974 in Charleston, South Carolina)[4] was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee in the 2010 election for the United States House of Representatives from South Carolina's 2nd congressional district. He was the nominee for the same seat in 2008, but was defeated by the Republican incumbent, Joe Wilson, in a close election.

Early life and education[edit]

Miller is originally from Charleston, South Carolina.[5] He met his wife Shane, while a student at Bishop England High School.[6] The two began dating while both were enrolled at the College of Charleston.[6] He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. degree,[6][7] and received a Master's Degree in justice administration from Norwich University.[6]

United States Marine Corps[edit]

During his freshman year at the College of Charleston, Miller enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.[6] Miller's basic training took place at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in 1995.[6] Miller served 13 years in the United States Marine Corps, including two deployments in the Iraq War.[8] During his service in Iraq, Miller experienced combat duty in battle locations during the initial two years of the Iraq War, including Mosul, Haditha, and Fallujah.[5] Miller rose to the rank of captain,[9] and retired from the Marine Corps in February 2008.[10]

Political career[edit]

2008 U.S. Congressional campaign[edit]

The 2nd had long been considered a Republican stronghold; it has been in Republican hands since 1965 and was one of the first areas of the state to break away from its Democratic roots.[11] However, national Democratic officials expressed optimism that Miller could compete for the seat, in part based on expected high turnout of supporters of Barack Obama.[11]

In the days leading up to the election, Miller's campaign attracted the interest of top Democrats, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, also of South Carolina, campaigned for Miller.[12] By October 23, 2008, Miller had raised about $500,000, approximately half as much as Wilson.[13]

In the November 4 election, Miller took 46.4 percent of the vote.[14] He was defeated by the Republican incumbent, Joe Wilson, in the closest election of Wilson's political life in the South Carolina Senate and United States House of Representatives.[13] Wilson won the election by a margin of approximately 26,000 votes.[15]

2010 U.S. Congressional campaign[edit]

In 2010, Miller challenged Republican incumbent Joe Wilson for South Carolina's 2nd congressional district. Also running were Libertarian nominee Eddie McCain and Constitution Party nominee Marc Beaman.[16] On September 9, 2009, Representative Wilson shouted "You lie!" at President Obama during his speech to a joint session of Congress.[17] Donations to Miller for his 2010 campaign against Wilson immediately spiked, followed by counter donations from Wilson's supporters. Within 48 hours, Miller had topped $1 million and Wilson $750,000.[18] After one week, both candidates had received over $1.5 million.[19] A poll conducted a day after the outburst by the Democratic affiliated pollster Public Policy Polling found Miller ahead of Wilson 44% to 43%.[20][21] WCSC-TV described the 2010 race as "a high-stakes re-election campaign".[22]

In January 2010, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee placed Miller's challenge opposing Wilson among the top 17 races in the 2010 elections for U.S. Congress.[23] By February 2010, the Miller-Wilson contest had become the most expensive U.S. House of Representatives race in South Carolina history.[24][25] During campaigning, Miller emphasized the viewpoint that his opponent had become complacent in Washington, D.C., "Joe Wilson raised his own pay five times; used taxpayer dollars to bail out Wall Street; and voted against combat benefits for troops in Iraq. I don’t know what state [Wilson] thinks he’s from. This race is going to be won because Congressman Wilson has voted against South Carolina interests time and time again."[26] Miller positioned himself in the race as a fiscally conservative Democrat.[27]

Carol Fowler, Chairwoman of the South Carolina State Democratic Party, noted that Miller had gained experience since his prior election campaign, "(Miller) ran a competitive race in 2008, but he was clearly new at it. He's more sure of himself, he's better at fundraising, he's better at one-on-one talking to voters, he makes a better speech."[6] Miller's first political television advertisement, titled "Iraq",[28] included U.S. Marines that spoke positively of his leadership skills while serving in Iraq.[29] The political ad first ran in August 2010.[30] Miller placed an ad in which he accused his opponent of outsourcing jobs to Central America.[31] Miller stated his campaign was attempting to appeal to members of the Republican and Independent parties as well as the Democrats, in order to highlight criticisms of his opponent.[32]

Miller criticized trips made by Wilson to Afghanistan, and stated the visits detracted from funding for U.S. military efforts due to the protection required for the trips.[33] Miller emphasized a House Ethics Committee investigation into Wilson's usage of travel funds, and commented, "Joe Wilson represents everything about Washington that's wrong today. He has a long track record of skirting ethical rules in congress and that's not what South Carolina is about."[34] He criticized Wilson's travel to Iraq as frivolous, stating to McClatchy Newspapers, "When I was in Iraq, I don't know how many times we had to take Marines and soldiers off missions so they could provide security for these political stunts. That's simply unacceptable. These politicians need to get out of the way and let the military get the job done."[35] After reports that the Congressional House Ethics Committee investigation was wider than Wilson had led individuals to believe, Miller's campaign stated, "Congressman Wilson has been intentionally misleading the public about his ethics investigation. If he will admit to stealing in broad daylight, what is happening behind closed doors?"[36]

Wilson defeated Miller by 53.5% to 43.8%.

Personal life[edit]

Miller and his wife Shane married in 1997.[6] They own a store in Beaufort, South Carolina called The Recruit's Depot, which sells San Diego and Parris Island Marine Corps merchandise.[37] In 2008, Miller lived on Lady's Island in Beaufort County, South Carolina.[37] In 2010, their son, Ransom, was a student at Beaufort Elementary School.[6] Ransom and his family now live in Bethesda MD.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2012 Democratic Party Candidates (federal and state-level offices)". South Carolina State Election Commission. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  2. ^ O'Connor, John (October 29, 2008). "Wilson, Miller debate bailout, tax cuts, trade - 2nd District candidates face off on ETV". The State (Columbia, South Carolina: The McClatchy Company). p. B; Section: Local. 
  3. ^ Rosen, James (McClatchy Newspapers) (October 17, 2009). "Wilson - Miller race sets S.C. money record". The Charlotte Observer (South Carolina). p. 3B. 
  4. ^ a b Davenport, Jim (November 7, 2010). "Elections 2010 : NPR". NPR via Associated Press. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Rosen, James (April 17, 2008). "Iraq veteran on financial roll to take on Wilson". The State (Columbia, South Carolina: The McClatchy Company). p. B; Section: Local. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Vachon, Juliann (August 28, 2010). "'Confidence' defines Democrat Miller's congressional campaign". The Island Packet ( Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  7. ^ West, Bill (February 25, 2010). "Rob Miller is confident of victory, but still waging a battle". Lexington County Chronicle & The Dispatch-News (Lexington, South Carolina). 
  8. ^ Aiken Standard staff (September 11, 2008). "Questions about elections will be answered tonight". Aiken Standard. 
  9. ^ Rosen, James (October 5, 2009). "Race on course for record fundraising - Rob Miller vs. Joe Wilson". The State (Columbia, South Carolina). p. 1; Front Page. 
  10. ^ "S.C. Politics Today - Bill to ban lap dances stalls in House". The State (Columbia, South Carolina: The McClatchy Company). April 2, 2008. p. B9. 
  11. ^ a b The State staff (August 31, 2008). "S.C. Democrats: Big hill to climb". The State. 
  12. ^ Murray, Matthew (October 28, 2008). "Minority Vote a Key Factor in Two S.C. Races". Roll Call ( Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  13. ^ a b Rosen, James (October 23, 2008). "Joe Wilson facing real challenge from Iraq vet". The State. 
  14. ^ The New York Times staff (December 9, 2008). "South Carolina — Election Results 2008". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  15. ^ Donohue, Patrick (August 28, 2010). "Wilson makes job shadowing a part of his campaign". The Island Packet ( Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  16. ^ Official candidate list SC Secretary of State
  17. ^ Gerhart, Ann (September 10, 2009). "The Congressman Who Cried 'Lie!'". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  18. ^ Kane, Paul (September 12, 2009). "S.C.'s Wilson Rakes In $750,000 in Less Than 48 Hours; Opponent Tops $1 Million". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  19. ^ Abrams, Jim; Ben Evans (September 15, 2009). "Lawmaker's 'You lie' outburst draws House rebuke". Associated Press. 
  20. ^ "Wilson in dead heat with Miller after comments" (PDF). Public Policy Polling. September 11, 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  21. ^ "‘You Lie’ Fallout: Foe Hauls in Quick Half-Million". CQ Politics. Retrieved 2010-06-14. [dead link]
  22. ^ "Rep. Wilson under House ethics investigation". WCSC-TV (Columbia, South Carolina: September 1, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  23. ^ Rosen, James (February 3, 2010). "Wilson, Miller rake in $626,000 combined". The State (Columbia, South Carolina). p. 11; Section: State & Metro Extra. 
  24. ^ Rosen, James (February 7, 2010). "Wilson, Miller spend at breakneck pace". The State (Columbia, South Carolina). p. 13; Section: Metro. 
  25. ^ Behre, Robert (September 7, 2010). "3-ring election season". Charleston Post Courier ( Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
  26. ^ Hutchins, Corey (August 18, 2010). "Miller Works Tough Crowd in Pelion". Free Times (Columbia, South Carolina: Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  27. ^ Hutchins, Corey (August 18, 2010). "Wilson Slings Burgers on "Cut the Fat" Tour". Free Times (Columbia, South Carolina: Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  28. ^ Hutchins, Corey (August 31, 2010). "D-Day for Democrats?". Free Times (Columbia, South Carolina: Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  29. ^ Lieb, David A. (August 29, 2010). "Analysis: Skelton waging military campaign". Associated Press ( Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  30. ^ "Wilson ends cookouts, starts bus tour". The State (South Carolina: August 22, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  31. ^ Weinberg, Ali (September 3, 2010). "Ad Watch: The (out)source of Joe Wilson's problem". MSNBC ( Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  32. ^ Foss, Cassie (August 29, 2010). "Optimistic Democrats open Hilton Head office". The Island Packet ( Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  33. ^ Rosen, James (August 31, 2010). "'You lie' Rep. Joe Wilson probed for use of travel expenses". McClatchy Newspapers ( Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  34. ^ WACH Fox News Center (September 1, 2010). "Rep. Wilson being investigated for ethics violations". WACH ( Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  35. ^ Rosen, James (September 4, 2010). "South Carolina's Wilson under wider probe for overseas trips". McClatchy Newspapers ( 
  36. ^ WACH Fox News Center (September 6, 2010). "Report: Wilson ethics investigation may be broader". WACH ( Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
  37. ^ a b Rosen, James (June 3, 2008). "Congressional face-off". The State (Columbia, South Carolina: The McClatchy Company). p. A1. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Michael Ray Ellisor
Democratic nominee for South Carolina's 2nd congressional district
2008, 2010
Succeeded by
Current nominee