William E. Miller

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This article is about the member of Congress. For the federal judge, see William Ernest Miller.
William E. Miller
William-Miller.jpg
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 B. 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
43rd Chairman of the Republican National Committee
In office
1961–1964
Preceded by Thruston B. Morton
Succeeded by Dean Burch
Personal details
Born William Edward Miller
March 22, 1914 (1914-03-22)
Lockport, New York
Died June 24, 1983 (1983-06-25) (aged 69)
Buffalo, New York
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Stephanie (Wagner) Miller[1]
Children Stephanie Miller
Profession Attorney
Religion Roman Catholicism

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.[2] He was the only Catholic vice presidential nominee of the Republican Party until Paul Ryan in 2012.

Life and career[edit]

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.[3][4] His paternal grandparents were German immigrants, and his mother was of Irish descent.[5] Miller attended the University of Notre Dame and Albany Law School. He served in the United States Army during World War II and later helped prosecute German war criminals at the Nuremberg trials. Miller was appointed district attorney of Niagara County, New York in 1948, by Governor Thomas E. Dewey. Miller served in the United States House of Representatives from 1951 to 1965 and was chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1961 to 1964.

Goldwater stated that he chose Miller to be his running mate 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?"[6]

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.[7] Mark Z. Barabak suggests that by the time he died, Miller was "was better known for his advertising appearance than his years in Congress."[8] He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

He and his wife, Stephanie (Wagner), had three daughters and one son. 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[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1983/06/25/obituaries/ex-rep-william-miller-69-dies-goldwater-s-1964-running-mate.html
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ "Fighter for His Party; William Edward Miller". The New York Times. January 22, 1960. 
  4. ^ Archived December 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Person Details for William Edward Miller in household of Edward J Miller, "United States Census, 1920" — FamilySearch.org". Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  6. ^ Perlstein, Rick (2002). Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus. p. 389. 
  7. ^ Guess Who?, Time Magazine (Feb. 17, 1975)
  8. ^ 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. 
  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[edit]

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

1951–1953
Succeeded by
John R. Pillion
Preceded by
Kenneth B. Keating
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 40th congressional district

1953–1965
Succeeded by
Henry P. Smith III
Party political offices
Preceded by
Henry C. Lodge II
Republican nominee for
Vice President of the United States

1964
Succeeded by
Spiro Agnew
Preceded by
Thruston B. Morton
Chairman of the Republican National Committee
1961–1964
Succeeded by
Dean Burch