Zac McDorrNo president has come from Maine, but we have had a couple of vice presidents. Strangely enough, neither one stayed around for a second term.

Hannibal Hamlin was ditched by Abraham Lincoln, who ran with Andrew Johnson the second time around. Nelson Rockefeller retired after Gerald Ford’s first term.

Rockefeller, who was a member of the famous wealthy family, was born in Bar Harbor in July 1908. His grandfather was John D. Rockefeller, who founded Standard Oil and became the richest man in the world. His maternal grandfather was Nelson Aldrich, the most powerful U.S. Senator of his day.

Nelson Rockefeller inherited an interest in politics, and spoke of being president someday when he was a child. He entered politics in the 1930s, and served in one capacity or another under Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Truman, and Nixon. Although he was a Republican, he was on the liberal/progressive side of the spectrum. Such liberal Republicans would come to be known as “Rockefeller Republicans.”

Rockefeller became governor of New York in 1958, and served four successful terms. He was always aiming for larger things, however: He tried to become the Republican presidential nominee in 1960, 1964, and 1968, unsuccessfully.

His ambitions received a setback when he divorced his first wife, Mary Todhunter Clark Rockefeller, and married a much younger woman named Margaretta “Happy” Murphy. Such a thing was scandalous for a politician in those days.

Rockefeller resigned as governor in 1973, and Richard Nixon resigned as president the following year. Gerald Ford chose Rockefeller for his vice president. When asked about his greatest achievement in the first 100 days of his administration, Ford said, “Nominating Nelson Rockefeller.”

When it came time for re-election, however, Ford suggested that Rockefeller move on to make room for a more conservative running mate.

Rockefeller died in New York City in 1979.


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