1964 Republican National Convention
1964 presidential election
Goldwater and Miller
Date(s)July 13–16, 1964
CityDaly City, California
VenueCow Palace
ChairThruston Ballard Morton
Notable speakersRichard M. Nixon
Nelson Rockefeller
Presidential nomineeBarry Goldwater of Arizona
Vice presidential nomineeWilliam E. Miller of New York
Other candidatesNelson Rockefeller
William Scranton
Total delegates1,308
Votes needed for nomination655
Results (president)Goldwater (AZ): 883 (67.50%)
Scranton (PA): 214 (16.36%)
Rockefeller (NY): 114 (8.72%)
Results (vice president)Miller (NY): 100% (Roll call)
‹ 1960 · 1968 ›

The 1964 Republican National Convention took place in the Cow Palace, Daly City, California, from July 13 to July 16, 1964. Before 1964, there had been only one national Republican convention on the West Coast, the 1956 Republican National Convention, which also took place in the Cow Palace. Many believed that a convention at San Francisco indicated the rising power of the Republican Party in the west.[1]

Political context

The Republican primaries of 1964 featured liberal Nelson Rockefeller of New York and conservative Barry Goldwater of Arizona as the two leading candidates. Shortly before the California primary, Rockefeller's wife, whom he had married the previous year after divorcing his first wife, gave birth.[2] This event drew renewed attention to Rockefeller's family life, which hurt his popularity among conservatives. Rockefeller's divorce and remarriage were viewed by many observers as helping Goldwater win the primary.[2] An anti-Goldwater organization called for the nomination of Governor William Scranton of Pennsylvania, but the effort failed. Although former President Dwight Eisenhower only reluctantly supported Goldwater after he won the nomination, former President Herbert Hoover gave him enthusiastic endorsement. By the end of the primaries, Goldwater's nomination was secure.

Senator Margaret Chase Smith's name was entered for nomination at the convention, the first time a woman's name was entered for nomination at a major party convention.

The convention

The Republican National Convention of 1964 was a tension-filled contest. Goldwater's conservatives were openly clashing with Rockefeller's moderates. Goldwater was regarded as the "conservatives' leading spokesman."[3] As a result, Goldwater was not as popular with the moderates and liberals of the Republican Party.[4][5] When Rockefeller attempted to deliver a speech, he was booed by the convention's conservative delegates, who regarded him as a member of the "eastern liberal establishment."

Governor Mark Hatfield appears before the convention in the Cow Palace

Former vice president and GOP presidential nominee (and future President) Richard Nixon introduced Goldwater as "Mr. Conservative" and "Mr. Republican" and continued that "he is the man who, after the greatest campaign in history, will be Mr. President — Barry Goldwater".[6] 1964 was the only Republican convention between 1952 and 1972 that did not result in Nixon being nominated for president or vice-president.

The newly opened San Francisco Hilton served as the headquarters of the convention.[7]


A Platform Committee meeting held ahead of the convention in on July 9

The 1964 Republican Platform was dominated by Goldwater conservatives, which meant the platform was dominated by calls for limited government, condemnations of the Kennedy and Johnson foreign and domestic policy, calls for more open space for free enterprise, a hard-line against Communist North Vietnam, calls for reform of the United Nations, a staunch support of NATO, calls for lower taxes, a hard line against international Communism, and an accusation that the Kennedy Administration was guilty of Munich-like appeasement for having opened a hotline with the Soviet Union and not with American allies.[8]

Presidential nomination

Presidential candidates

Despite political infighting, Goldwater was easily nominated on a revised first ballot. In his acceptance speech, Goldwater declared communism as a "principal disturber of the peace in the world today" and said, "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Some people, including those within his own campaign staff, believed this weakened Goldwater's chances, as he effectively severed ties with the moderates and liberals of the Republican Party.[9]

As delegates celebrated Goldwater's nomination, Republican officials attempted to clear reporters from the convention floor.[10] NBC reporter John Chancellor refused to leave and was escorted from the convention by police officers, leading to his famous signoff, "This is John Chancellor, somewhere in custody!"[10] According to Emmy award-winning television journalist, Belva Davis, she and another black reporter were chased out of the convention by attendees yelling racial slurs.[11]

Presidential Balloting
Candidate 1st (Before Shifts) 1st (After Shifts)
Goldwater 883 1,220
Scranton 214 50
Rockefeller 114 6
Romney 41 1
Smith 27 22
Judd 22 1
Fong 5 1
Lodge 2 0
Not Voting 0 7

Presidential Balloting / 3rd Day of Convention (July 15, 1964)

Vice presidential nomination

Vice presidential candidates

William E. Miller, a representative from Western New York who had served as chairman of the Republican National Committee since 1961, was nominated unanimously on a roll call vote. Goldwater stated that he chose Miller to be his running mate simply because "he drives Johnson nuts" with his Republican activism.[12] 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, however 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?"[12]

He was replaced as Chairman of the RNC by Dean Burch, a Goldwater loyalist from Arizona.

Vice Presidential Balloting
Candidate 1st
Miller 1,305
Abstained 3

Vice Presidential Balloting / 4th Day of Convention (July 16, 1964)

See also


  1. ^ Shadegg, Stephen (1965). What Happened to Goldwater? The Inside Story of the 1964 Republican Campaign. NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p. 134. ISBN 9780878370115.
  2. ^ a b Davies, Lawrence E. (June 4, 1964). "Goldwater, Narrowly Beating Rockefeller, Sets California G.O.P. on a New Course". The New York Times. New York, NY. p. 22 – via TimesMachine.
  3. ^ The New York Times Election Handbook 1964. New York: McGraw Hill. 1964. p. 65.
  4. ^ Epstein, Leon D.; Ranney, Austin (1966). "Who Voted for Goldwater: The Wisconsin Case". Political Science Quarterly. 81 (1): 82–94 [p. 85]. doi:10.2307/2146862. JSTOR 2146862.
  5. ^ Mattar, Edward Paul (1964). Barry Goldwater: A Political Indictment. Minneapolis: Century Twenty One Unlimited. pp. 84–7.
  6. ^ Conservatives Re-Take the R... on YouTube[dead link]
  7. ^ Sawislak, Arnold (April 21, 1983). "Democrats chose San Francisco today as the site of..." UPI. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  8. ^ "Republican Party Platforms: Republican Party Platform of 1964". www.presidency.ucsb.edu. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  9. ^ White, Clifton F. (1967). Suite 3505: The Story of the Draft Goldwater Movement. New Rochelle: Arlington House. p. 15.
  10. ^ a b "1964: NBC reporter arrested on air". The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. Waterloo, IA. August 17, 2020.
  11. ^ Rutland, Ginger (February 19, 2012). "The Reading Rack". Sacramento Bee. p. E3. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  12. ^ a b Perlstein, Rick (2002). Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus. p. 389. ISBN 9780786744152 – via Google Books.
Preceded by
Chicago, Illinois
Republican National Conventions Succeeded by
Miami Beach, Florida