William E. Miller

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William E. Miller
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
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

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] 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.[8]

Electoral history

New York's 42nd district, 1950[9]

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

New York's 40th district, 1952[10]

  • 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[11]

  • 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[12]

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

New York's 40th district, 1958[13]

  • 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[14]

  • 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[15]

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

United States presidential election, 1964

  • Lyndon B. Johnson/Hubert Humphrey (D) - 43,127,041 (61.1%) and 486 electoral votes (44 states and D.C. carried)
  • Barry Goldwater/William E. Miller (R) - 27,175,754 (38.5%) and 52 electoral votes (6 states carried)
  • Unpledged electors (D) - 210,732 (0.3%) and 0 electoral votes


His daughter is the TV, radio political talk show host Stephanie Miller of The Stephanie Miller Show on Free Speech TV.


  • Libby Miller Fitzgerald, "Bill Miller: Do You Know Me? A Daughter Remembers", Warwick House, 2004, ISBN 1-890306-73-8

External links

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

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

Succeeded by
Henry P. Smith III
Party political offices
Preceded by
Henry C. Lodge II
Republican vice presidential nominee
Succeeded by
Spiro Agnew
Preceded by
Thruston B. Morton
Chairman of the Republican National Committee
Succeeded by
Dean Burch