Robert Daniel

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For the 17th-century English Colonial Governor, see Robert Daniell.
For his father, a Virginia State Senator, see Robert Williams Daniel.
Robert W. Daniel
Daniel, RE Jr.png
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1983
Preceded by Watkins Abbitt
Succeeded by Norman Sisisky
Personal details
Born March 17, 1936
Richmond, Virginia
Died February 4, 2012(2012-02-04) (aged 75)
Jupiter Island, Florida
Resting place Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sally L. Chase (div.)
Linda Hearne
Children Robert W. Daniel, III
Charlotte Bemiss Daniel
Nell Daniel
Alma mater University of Virginia (B.A.)
Columbia University (M.B.A.)
Profession gentleman farmer
Religion Episcopalian
Awards National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal
Military service
Service/branch United States Army Reserve
Central Intelligence Agency
Years of service 1959

Robert Williams Daniel, Jr. (March 17, 1936 – February 4, 2012) was a Virginia farmer, businessman, teacher, and politician who served five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican. He was first elected in 1972 and served until 1983.


Early life[edit]

Daniel was born in Richmond, Virginia. He was the son of Robert Williams Daniel, a bank executive who survived the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, and later served in the Senate of Virginia and his third wife Charlotte Randolph Christian (née Bemiss).

He was a descendant of Peter V. Daniel, an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and, Edmund Randolph, who was the seventh Governor of Virginia, the first Attorney General of the United States and Secretary of State.

He graduated from the Fay School in Southborough, Massachusetts and Woodberry Forest School, in Woodberry Forest, Virginia.[1] He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi.[2] He then received a Masters in Business Administration from Columbia University.


He served in the United States Army and Central Intelligence Agency from 1964 to 1968.

Daniel had grown up as a Democrat, but became a Republican sometime in the 1960s when many Southern Democrats left the Democratic Party. In 1972, he ran for the open seat in Virginia's 4th congressional district after a redistricting controversy and the retirement of longtime incumbent Watkins Abbitt. He won in the 5-candidate general election, becoming the first Republican to represent this district since the end of Reconstruction.[3]

While in Congress, Daniel was a member of the House Armed Services Committee and various subcommittees. He was defeated in his bid for a sixth term by Norman Sisisky in 1982. He served as deputy assistant to Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger, from 1984 to 1986; and director of intelligence for the Department of Energy from 1990 to 1993. He was a recipient of the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal.

Personal life[edit]

He was the owner and operator of Brandon Plantation, in Prince George, Virginia, a U.S. National Historic Landmark and one of the oldest continuous agricultural operations in the United States.

Daniel died of a heart attack at his Jupiter Island, Florida vacation home on February 4, 2012 and was buried with military honors at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.[4][5]

Electoral history[edit]

  • 1972; Daniel was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives with 55.67% of the vote, defeating Democrat Robert E. Gibson and Independents Robert R. Hardy, William E. Ward, and John G. Vonetes.
  • 1974; Daniel was re-elected with 47.21% of the vote, defeating Democrat Lester E. Schlitz and Independent Curtis W. Harris.
  • 1976; Daniel was re-elected with 53.03% of the vote, defeating Democrat Joseph William O'Brien, Jr.
  • 1978; Daniel was re-elected unopposed.
  • 1980; Daniel was re-elected with 60.7% of the vote, defeating Democrat Cecil Y. Jenkins.
  • 1982; Daniel lost his re-election bid to Democrat Norman Sisisky.


  1. ^ Biographical directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005: The Continental Congress, September 5, 1774, to October 21, 1788, and the Congress of the United States, from the First through the One Hundred Eighth Congresses, March 4, 1789, to January 3, 2005, inclusive, Government Printing Office, p. 917 [1]
  2. ^ Grand Catalogue of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity – Twelfth Edition, p.76: Bernard C. Harris Publishing Company, 1985.
  3. ^ John T. Whelen, Virginia's Post World War II Paths to Congress," University of Virginia Newsletter February 1992 at p. 7, available at
  4. ^ "Former congressman Robert W. Daniel Jr. dies at 75". Progress Index. February 10, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  5. ^ "Five-term congressman and recent Jupiter Island resident Robert W. Daniel dies". TCPalm. February 14, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Watkins M. Abbitt
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Norman Sisisky