Milliken graduated from Drexel Institute in Philadelphia. After graduating he worked as a construction foreman, and a sales executive for the Whitehall Cement Manufacturing Co. He was a member of the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, and clerk of courts of Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
When the War Board met on March 21, 1958, at John McClure's home, it was reported that those in attendance were: Curran, Milliken, state senator G. Robert Watkins; county commissioners Arthur C. Throne and J. Warren Bullen; Walter Weaver of Darby Township; Newtown Township supervisor John Gable; state committeeman Albert H. Swing of Radnor; Fred Duke of Clifton Heights; Roy Blackburn of Haverford Township; and John R. Cramp, county Republican chairman. Milliken, who at age 61, was only a year younger than James was at the time he ran in 1948, was endorsed by the McClure Machine by an undisclosed vote.
The primary election was a four way race for the GOP nomination, with Milliken winning a majority over his rivals. According to the News, Milliken received 41,553 votes to Edmund Jones, 15,866; Ivan H. "Cy" Peterman, an Upper Darby journalist, 11,683; and Upper Darby 10th Ward commissioner Jack F. Robbins, with 11,240. Hubert Earle, the son of former Governor George H. Earle, beat fellow Democrat James M. "T-Shirt" McBride of Glenolden, 10,524 to 4,078. Congressman Hugh Scott of Philadelphia carried Delaware County over former state senator Heyburn, also winning statewide. McClure scored a personal triumph with Arthur T. McGonigle's victory, county and statewide over independent Harold Stassen of Philadelphia. Governor George Leader won the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, along with Pittsburgh Mayor David Lawrence for governor.
In the general election, the Democrats nationally were especially energized. Several factors converged in 1958 to cause the greatest defeat for the GOP in Congress since the New Deal. Foremost was the implication of President Eisenhower's Chief of Staff, Sherman Adams, in improprieties involving the receipt of gifts, notably a $69 vicuna coat, from a textile manufacturer in return for the former's help in resolving problems with the Federal Trade Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission. As Democratic candidates made hay of these allegations, Adams was forced to resign, which he did on September 22, in hopes of lessening the harm to the Republican campaign effort.
Throughout the fall campaign the Democrats hammered away at other issues, charging that Eisenhower had supposedly left our defenses in a weakened state, allowing the Soviets to pull ahead in the missile and space races. This charge was to be repeated in the 1960 election and eventually proven false during the succeeding Kennedy administration. Worst of all, for the GOP, the economy was only then just coming out of a brief, but sharp recession that began in the summer of 1957. By the spring of 1958, industrial production had declined 14 percent and corporate profits fell 25 percent, resulting in unemployment peaking at 7.5 percent. President Eisenhower's popularity, in turn, as measured by the Gallup poll tumbled from 79 percent in early 1957 to his lowest point ever of 52 percent in November 1958. Tracking polls had shown that with the launching of Sputnik in October 1957, which seemingly indicated that the U.S. was behind the Soviets technologically, the Democrats popularity exceeded that of the GOP. Aggravating this trend in the Deep South was the Republican Administration's stand in enforcing desegregation in Little Rock, Arkansas that same year. Further, when the average voter was asked by the Gallup Poll what his or her impression was of the Republican Party, the answers were "selfish and rich" and the "businessman's party", while the Democrats were viewed as representing the middle class.
The election locally between Milliken and Earle degenerated into a particularly bitter race, with the latter accusing the former of having converted county funds to his own personal use. Specifically, when Milliken was Clerk of Courts, he had used $5,953 in fees paid to the county for his own use, later paying back all of the funds. James J. Connor, the minority County Commissioner, jumped into the fray, declaring that he would ask his fellow commissioners to file suit against Milliken to recover about $1,400 in estimated interest that these funds would have earned. An indignant Milliken said that his actions were not illegal and had been standard practice, at least by his two predecessors in office, and retaliated by filing a criminal libel suit against Earle. Earle was then arrested and posted a $1,000 bail on October 25, but Milliken failed to appear at the magistrate's hearing at the Springfield Township Building that day. The Democrat was undeterred by the lawsuit and continued his attacks the next day at a rally in Chester, offering to withdraw from the campaign and go to jail if Milliken would answer several pointed questions regarding the missing funds.
When the votes were counted election day, the Democrats had gained a whopping 13 seats in the Senate and 46 in the House, for the biggest majorities since 1940 and 1936, respectively. This election was part of the trend in which the party in power loses heavily in its sixth year in office, such as 1938, 1946, 1966, 1974 and the GOP Senate loss in 1986.
In Pennsylvania, voters split their tickets, narrowly electing Lawrence governor by 76,000 votes, while Congressman Scott was elected to the U.S. Senate by almost 113,000. However, Democrats picked up three U.S. House seats from Republicans statewide, giving them sixteen of the thirty member delegation. Scott was able to go against the tide by carrying Democratic Allegheny County by 33,000 votes and losing the Philadelphia region by only 6,000 votes. In Delaware County, there was no danger of the Republican ticket losing. Milliken sailed past Earle with 59.2% of the vote and Scott and McGonigle had similar majorities in the county.
In 1958, members of Congress were paid $22,500 annually and were allowed $17,500 to hire up to eight clerks, with no one clerk allowed to be paid more than $7,000. The mileage allowance was 20 cents per mile, with $1,200 per session allotted for stationery expenses, $200 for air mail or special delivery, 45 hours of long distance telephone calling and 12,000 words in telegrams. In contrast, the average annual family income in 1958 was around $5,000 and a factory worker in Philadelphia was averaging about $4,500 a year. Retirement for members of Congress was granted after a minimum of six years of service and attainment of the age of 62.
He described the large Democratic representation in Congress as those "I would class among the spenders...And I promise this: for the next two years, the Lord sparing me, I am going to fight this as hard as I know how." He further elaborated, telling the legislative leadership early in 1959: "We've got to convince Americans that thrift is not a bad word."
With the fiscal 1959 budget in the red by $12.4 billion, a peacetime record, and primarily due to the recession, Eisenhower was determined to keep federal spending in line. He was lucky to have new Republican minority leaders in the House and Senate, who would support him on the economic issues. Charles A. Halleck of Indiana deposed Joseph Martin in the House and Everett M. Dirksen of Illinois succeeded William Knowland, who had unsuccessfully run for governor of California, for the Senate Minority Leader.
After taking office, Milliken was appointed to the House Banking and Currency Committee and introduced several bills in 1959, including one to increase the amount of other income allowed without causing a loss of social security benefits from $1,200 to $1,800. Another bill was to allow the exemption of suburbanites from the Philadelphia wage tax. During the year, he supported President Eisenhower's attempts to hold down federal spending, including numerous vetoes, in 66% of the votes, and opposed those efforts 34% of the time. Out of thirty Pennsylvania congressmen, he tied for second place among those supporting economy in government. As a result of these efforts, the budget year ending June 30, 1960, would show a small surplus of $1.2 billion and would be the last budget surplus that would not include the use of the surplus in the trust funds, such as Social Security. Other significant legislation for the year included the approval by the House, 323-89, for Hawaii's admission into the Union, which Milliken supported. However, the administration's proposed civil rights bill languished in the conservative dominated Rules Committee.
During the following year, Milliken supported funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1960, which allowed for court appointed referees to help register minorities to vote and efforts to increase the minimum wage. For his first term, Milliken proved to be the strongest supporter of the Eisenhower administration in the Pennsylvania delegation, with an 81% score in support and only 18% in opposition. However, on July 1, he deserted his president, along with many other Republicans, in voting to override the veto of a proposed 7.5% pay raise for federal workers. Eisenhower stated in his objections, that since 1953, federal workers has received pay raises well in excess of inflation and that Congress had bowed to "intensive and unconcealed political pressure" from the postal unions.
By October, the unemployment rate had reached 6.3% and the chances of the Republicans winning the election diminished accordingly. Also, Kennedy and the Democrats hammered relentlessly at the administration's foreign and defense policies, citing a "missile gap" that left the U.S. at a disadvantage against the Soviet's ICBM forces. This charge was proven untrue the following year. Also, the collapse of the 1960 summit between Eisenhower, Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev, French President Charles DeGaulle and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, over the downing of an American U-2 spy plane over Soviet territory provided Democrats with ample ammunition. In addition, on August 24, Eisenhower made what some consider the worst gaffe of his presidency by responding to a reporter's question about the contributions of Vice President Nixon to major decisions: "If you give me a week, I might think of one. I don't remember." Gallup tracking polls showed the lead changing several times between Nixon and Kennedy.
Locally, with Delaware County's heavy Catholic and working class population, it was obvious that Kennedy would take a sizable portion of the normally Republican vote and could cause the rest of the GOP ticket considerable difficulty with the "coattail effect". Congressman Milliken, running for a second term against Democrat Henry Gouley, campaigned vigorously. On October 7, he charged that rumors that the Philadelphia Mint would be closed or moved were false. He charged that Philadelphia Mayor Richardson Dilworth circulated the story "to scare people in the Philadelphia area during the election campaign" and that an act of Congress was required to approve such plans.
On October 22, Nixon visited Chester and spoke to a crowd of about 8,000 well-wishers at Market Square. Said Nixon: "I told Bill (motioning on the platform to Milliken) I really didn't think we should schedule a meeting in Chester on a Saturday morning. But I see some of you made it out here." Almost as if to predict the upcoming Vietnam war, he stated: "Our most important duty is to keep the peace for the U.S., as Dwight Eisenhower had done. What happens in Washington in the next four years is going to affect the future of every young person in America today."
At Twentieth and Providence Avenues, the Nixon motorcade suddenly stopped and Nixon strode across the street to greet John McClure, who was recovering in a wheelchair from a hip fracture. "They (the Secret Service) didn't want me to stop, but I just couldn't pass you up." They both chatted for a few moments, then Nixon and his motorcade continued up Route 320, stopping in Swarthmore, the Springfield Shopping Center, Lawrence Park, Newtown Square, West Chester, before stopping in Paoli. Seven days later, Senator Kennedy appeared in Chester at Sixth and Penn Streets, drawing the largest ever crowd in the city, some 15,000 to 20,000. He continued to hammer away at the themes of America's lagging prestige abroad and lagging economy at home. "I want the U.S. to meet its responsibilities at home and abroad and the U.S. to move forward," he told the crowds. "This is more of a contest between the comfortable and the concerned - those who are satisfied with things as they are and those who want to move forward." Two days earlier, Kennedy had declared: "I say we can't afford another recession."
Eisenhower, sufficiently angered by Kennedy's relentless attacks, made some belated appearances to defend his administration's record in office. At a dinner in Philadelphia, the same day of Kennedy's visit to Delaware County, Ike said: "I hear that one candidate says he will act first and act fast. America needs a man who will think fast, and then act wisely".
The President touted the administration's foreign policy successes, such as ending the "costly and futile Korean War", "a decent solution to the Suez affair", forging "new ties with our neighbors to the south." Referring to Kennedy's new proposed domestic programs, Ike raised the specter of inflationary spending increases: "We know they could not pay for them with high hopes alone. But if they would pay for these programs by deficit spending, raising the debt of our children and grandchildren, and thereby debase our currency, let them so confess."
Meanwhile, Milliken did some campaigning of his own, appearing at the Marcus Hook fire company meeting hall on October 27. He attacked JFK and other Democrats who said that the nation's popularity was at an "all-time low". During Eisenhower's administration, Milliken countered: "The U.S. has never been beaten on a single UN vote" and made a point that U.S. popularity had "undoubtedly suffered in some areas abroad because of continuing Democrat attempts to downgrade America." State Senator Bell also spoke, emphasizing American air power, naval strength, outer space vehicles and hydrogen bombs. The same day, at the Springfield Lions Club meeting at the Deville Diner, both candidates for the Seventh congressional district met. Milliken was introduced by Springfield GOP chairman, Lawrence G. Williams, while Gouley was introduced by Joseph Helwig, the township's Democratic leader. Milliken attacked "extravagant spending by the Democrats" in Congress. His opponent, Gouley, issued a rebuttal, stating that under Eisenhower, spending increased 46% in the past eight years and was 68% higher than under the Roosevelt administration, reaching a record total of $579 billion.
Election night was indeed suspenseful for the presidential candidates, as well as many local ones. As the votes were counted, Kennedy's early lead shrunk as Republican votes from the Midwest and west flowed in. But, by after midnight, it appeared that the trend in the results was in Kennedy's favor and Nixon told his supporters: "If the present trend continues, Senator Kennedy will be elected the next President of the United States". When the critical states of Texas and Illinois had swung into the Democrats' column, Kennedy was able to declare a victory later than morning. And a razor thin one it was. He squeaked through in Illinois, 2.377 million votes to Nixon's 2.368 million. In Texas, the Senator gathered 1.167 million to the Vice President's 1.121 million. California eventually wound up in the Nixon column, 3.259 to 3.224 million, but Nixon still needed 50 electoral votes, which Illinois and Texas would have provided, with one to spare. As it turned out, Kennedy won by 303 electoral votes to Nixon's 219, with conservative Senator Harry Byrd of Virginia receiving 15 (8 from Mississippi, 6 from Alabama and 1 from Oklahoma). In the popular vote, Kennedy won only 34.227 million to Nixon's 34.108 million, the closest election since 1888.
Pennsylvania was carried by the Democrats by a narrow margin, 2.556 million to 2.439 million. With Nixon's weak showing in the suburbs and Kennedy's huge two to one sweep of Philadelphia, the latter's margin in the five county area was 237,000 votes.
In Delaware County, with the Democrats having a record 59,500 registered voters and Kennedy's strong appeal, Nixon carried the county by only 135,672 to 124,629. With some ticket-splitting, Milliken's plurality was slightly larger than Nixon's, 136,021 to 120,839, but the outcome of one legislative district, where Kennedy had carried four of the six towns, was in doubt until all absentee ballots were counted. Only then could incumbent Republican state representatives Clyde Dengler and Mae Kernaghan be declared the victors.
Locally, the same trend was evident, with Philadelphia's population dropping for the first time, a slight dip of 69,000 to 2,002,512, while the suburbs increased rapidly. The four suburban counties combined grew a whopping 55%, with Delaware County holding its position as the most populated, with 553,154. With the ideal population for a congressional district in Pennsylvania of 419,235, Delaware County was way under-represented, while Philadelphia, with its six seats, would be over-represented. If no changes were made, each of Philadelphia's congress members would be representing only 333,752 residents.
Soon after the 1960 election, there were reports that the Democrats in Philadelphia would attempt, through their political clout in Harrisburg, to move some Delaware County communities from the Seventh District to the city's Second District, centered in West Philadelphia. State senator-elect Bell stated: "I would resist to the last drop of my blood - political or otherwise - any attempt of Philadelphia to superimpose itself over Delaware County in any way whatsoever." Rumors were rampant that the powerful Democratic party chairman of Philadelphia, Congressman Bill Green, was pushing behind the scenes for such a plan.
In March 1961, Democratic state senator John J. Haluska of Cambria County, introduced a bill to combine Delaware and Chester counties into the 7th District, as well as Bucks and Montgomery counties into the 8th. Bell vigorously opposed the plan, noting that Philadelphia would still be left with six congressmen, representing some 330,000 residents, while the 7th district population would be around 850,000. "Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties are left intact and this bill is an obvious pointing to the type of Democratic state leadership we're getting," Bell rails. "- the Democrats in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh want to have control of the state."
On May 12 1961, during a panel discussion before the Haverford Township Civic Association and League of Women Voters, a prominent Democrat and a Republican from Upper Darby spoke. Dr. G. Edward Janosik, a political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, was opposed to the Green plan, as well as Republican plans. He recognized the necessity of crossing county lines in order to equalize the population of each district. Former county district attorney Raymond Start said he opposed Philadelphia receiving more than its fair share of state and federal representatives, adding: "We're going to have our own tea party in the Delaware, and it will be 'Green Tea'".
On July 24 1961, Eyre called for a mass protest by county citizens, stating: "The latest move on the part of Boss Bill Green to move into Delaware County and kidnap a large number of our voters is one of the most callous and vicious political maneuvers I have ever seen."
As usual, the Democratic leadership looked at the rational side of the issue. County chairman, James J. Connor, challenged the GOP to come up with a plan to alleviate the population imbalance between congressional districts. "The present Congressman from Delaware County represents 134,000 people more than he should in Washington," Connor stated. "How does he (Eyre) propose to give the voters of Delaware County equal representation without a jointure with one or more of the adjoining areas?"
In Washington, Green restated his support of city-suburban district jointure and also was pushing for legislation to increase House membership from 435 to 439. If passed, that bill would mean Pennsylvania would lose only two seats, instead of three. Green's plan became known by its Republican critics in the suburbs by the catchy name, "Green Grab". On July 31 1961, GOP leaders of Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties met in King of Prussia and issued a statement urging citizens to "resist the efforts of Democratic Boss Bill Green to grab sections of the suburbs to prevent the loss of a city congressman."
In addition to the county commissioners and the City Council of Chester, the townships of Aston, Upper Darby, Springfield and Tinicum adopted resolutions condemning Green's plan in no uncertain terms. The Anti-Annexation Committee of Southeastern Pennsylvania, consisting of the Republican chairmen of the four suburban counties, as well as Lancaster and Lehigh counties, was formed. The committee held strategy meetings with Bell, Milliken, county state representatives, county commissioners and War Board members. County Democrats, meanwhile, accused the Republican leadership of having no proposals of its own for redistricting. County chairman Connor posed a question to his GOP counterpart, Mayor Eyre: "How do you propose to give the voters of Delaware County equal representation without a jointure with one or more of the adjoining areas? I for one do not want Congressional redistricting to be handled in the same disproportionate manner that the Republican Party handled the redistricting of Delaware County for the State Legislature a short time ago."
In August 1961, state House Majority Leader, Stephen McCann, a Democrat, outlined the Green proposal to move Haverford, Marple, Newtown and Radnor townships to the 2nd District, represented by Kathryn E. Granahan, a Democrat and Bensalem Township in Bucks County to be shifted to Democrat Herman Toll's Fifth District. With the addition of 104,708 Delaware County and 23,478 Bucks County residents, each of the city's congressmen would represent 355,116 residents, while the 7th District would contain 448,446 residents and the 9th would contain 488,967. Opposition was immediate and vehement, with even county Democratic leaders in opposition. "I think Bill's overstepping his bounds," Leo Steinmeyer, chairman of the Newtown Democratic party stated. Governor Lawrence, a Democrat, held a meeting with the two state party chairmen, party secretaries, and state legislative leaders. Three congressmen from each party were scheduled to attend, but did not. George Bloom, state GOP chairman blamed the failure of the meeting on the lack of attendance by the congressman. "We are at an impasse where negotiations would get us nowhere", Bloom declared, "unless Philadelphia surrenders one of its six congressmen." Suburban GOP leaders charged that a "conspiracy" existed between Lawrence and Green regarding reapportionment. The Pennsylvania House minority leader, Albert W. Johnson, stated: "I am convinced that the governor would have given in and rejected Green's plan, except that Green is running the show."
Eyre and Green verbally sparred, when the latter protested use of the word "annexation" regarding his proposed reapportionment plan. "Use of the word is an absolute fraud, well calculated to mislead people both in the suburbs and in the city," the Democrat said. Eyre forcefully responded: "Bill Green...either should go back to school or open a copy of a good dictionary. Webster defines the word annex as a verb meaning 'to attach, join or add, especially something larger'...Annexation it will continue to be as far as hundreds of thousands of residents of suburban Philadelphia counties who object to the Green grab..."Bell presented his own plan, calling for: Philadelphia to give up one seat, preferably Green's; the GOP to yield a seat in the western part of the state and two districts with evenly balanced voter registration be merged into one. To make matters worse for the G.O.P, a Democratic state senator, Harry E. Seyler presented plans to merge all of Delaware County with Philadelphia for the purpose of congressional redistricting.
By the end of August, the legislature had adjourned without any agreement between both parties on reapportionment. Lawrence declared that he would call a special session of the legislature after the November elections for redistricting. On October 31, Milliken issued a challenge to county Democrats: "I, for one, have grown weary of waiting for any major Democratic candidate in this election to make his or her position known on Bill Green's plan to cut up Delaware County for congressional elections. The only safeguard against annexation, political or otherwise, is an overwhelming Republican victory at the polls Tuesday." Republican candidate for county prothonotary, Howard Reed, called the Green plan the first step to eventual total annexation of the county by Philadelphia. He warned the City is casting "covetous eyes on the suburban tax dollar as one way out of the financial shambles in which the Democrat party has placed it."
In the general elections, Republicans did well in Delaware County, giving Henry X. O'Brien about 60% of the vote for a seat on the state Supreme Court. The GOP also carried local elections in 47 of 49 towns, leaving the party in a much better position than the previous year. The Democrats losing local offices in ten communities. In the city, the Democratic slate only carried the district attorney and controller slate by about 54%. O'Brien won statewide and Republicans were confident they could retake the governorship and U.S. senate seat up for grabs in 1962. After the election, Eyre commented: "Philadelphia has long tried to move into Delaware County through the wage tax. The reapportionment question was just another form of potential annexation. But, why he (Green) brought it up again is a mystery; it certainly wasn't smart politically." In December, 1961, with no action having been taken by the time the legislature adjourned, a group of local Democrats, led by Upper Providence Justice of the Peace Donald Kahn, proposed its own redistricting plan. The Democrats' map kept Philadelphia separate from the suburbs and moved eleven northern and western Delaware County communities, as well as five Montgomery County towns, to the Ninth Congressional District in Chester County, which would be separated from Lancaster County. The Seventh District would have consisted of the southern and eastern tier of the county and would have had a population of 422,000.
In effect, the suburbs would receive an additional seat to reflect their rapid population growth. Democratic state chairman, Otis B. Morse met with political leaders and congressmen of his party, including Green. "I'm not married to any plan", commented Green, who seemed to back away from his earlier scheme. "I've never said you have to drop a seat anyplace. I've never said you have to add a seat here or there. That's been George Bloom."
With the filing deadline for candidates looming, Lawrence said in January that "we have adopted this other formula - a makeshift redistricting - and that's what it will be - to hurtle this present situation of avoiding having an election of all 27 member of Congress at large. Subsequent legislatures, I hope, will be in a position to redistrict the state properly, and have an equitable division somewhere close to the 419,000 mean". The governor called a special session of the legislature to convene on January 22, for the purpose of drawing up congressional districts. Chester's Democratic state representative, John E. Gremminger (aka "Reds Gremminger"), attacked Bell's plan to combine Delaware and Chester counties into one district, with two congressmen elected at-large, calling it "unworkable and un-American". After an inconclusive meeting with Lawrence and Morse, Bloom declared: "If this matter had been left to the legislature to decide early last year, without outside interference, we would have had a solution now and there would have been no reason for a special session. As Republican state chairman I shall assist and advise in every way that I can, but the final decision on what districts will be eliminated is a matter for the legislature and its committees to decide." Morse, in turn, retorted: "It would appear that responsibility for the delay is going to be placed exactly where it belongs - with the Republicans."
County Democrats announced their plan to partition the county from east to west, with twelve towns in the northern tier to be placed in the Chester County district. The remaining Delaware County based district would have a population of 417,113, while the Chester-Delaware County district would have 346,649 residents. Connor reiterated his earlier support for such a plan: "The concept of crossing county lines is not unknown. Southeastern Pennsylvania is unique in that congressional districts have been in recent years restricted to county lines and hence the people are underrepresented." Finally, on the fifteenth of January, a committee consisting of the two parties leaders and a 14 member bipartisan legislative group, agreed to eliminate one Philadelphia district, a Republican district in the central part of the state and merge the districts of Republican Ivor Fenton and Democrat George Rhodes. Green and the other five members of the city delegation met and agreed to eliminate Mrs. Granahan's Second District, which had lost over 32,000 residents. The City Democratic Committee approved the plan, forwarding it to the state chairman for incorporation in upcoming legislation. "It's agreeable to the county (Republican) organization," commented Eyre. "Just as long as Delaware County isn't changed in any way", Connor charged, "[o]nce again, it creates a district that is too large, which means these people are being denied proper representation."
With no debate and minor dissension, the legislature finally passed a bill reducing Philadelphia's six member congressional delegation by one and leaving the suburban representation unaffected, as follows:
1st-5th Dist Phila. (Average) 400,502 7th District Delaware 553,154 8th District Bucks/Lehigh 536,103 9th District Chester/Lancaster 488,967 13th District Montgomery 516,682 Ideal Average Pennsylvania 419,235
As mentioned above, the new alignment left the suburbs substantially under-represented, while leaving the city over-represented in Congress, but no county lines had been breached. But, this would be the last time that there would be such a massive population imbalance between congressional districts. In less that two years, the federal and state courts would rule that the large population imbalances were unconstitutional.
With two liberal Democrats from Philadelphia heading the statewide ticket, in addition to a liberal Democrat in the White House, Republicans gleefully went on the attack. The favorite issue raised was a familiar one: the likelihood of annexation of Delaware County by the City of Philadelphia. In April, Milliken spoke in Washington to some 300 members of the Delaware County Women's Republican Club, declaring that if Dilworth was elected "...we will have become a part of Philadelphia before his term as governor is up." He further elaborated that if the Democrats win, it "will be the beginning of the end of home rule" for the county and the election will be a "fight for survival for Delaware County". He was joined by Scranton, who strongly supported Milliken's reelection, emphasizing that the latter had been named to the House appropriations committee at a time when fiscal conservatism was important. VanZandt joined in, predicting a "voters' rebellion" that will spell victory for the GOP.
By the fall, the campaign rhetoric had heated up and became even more absurd and exaggerated. On September 24, at another Women's Republican Club function at the Alpine Inn in Springfield, Scranton's solution to crime in Philadelphia was evidently to blame Dilworth for a "reign of terror" in the city "that stops women and children ... from walking even one block to go to the store." Adding further to the fear tactics, Congressman VanZandt charged that Clark was "soft on Communism". Milliken added the only sensible point: "If this country continues spending as it is doing, it will spend itself into bankruptcy."
Meanwhile, the Democratic candidate for Congress, Chester attorney John A. Reilly, went on the attack, accusing Milliken of "double talk" and expecting to win due to the "complacency of Delaware County voters. I feel they are entitled to learn that Milliken has done nothing constructive in Washington and that he is no more than a puppet for his Chester bosses." He also decried Milliken's raising of "phony issues such as annexation". On October 4, the Upper Darby GOP committee issued a statement: "If the voters of Upper Darby Township want to stop Philadelphia at 63rd Street, they can do so by voting a straight Republican ticket this fall." Meanwhile, in response to Reilly's call for debates, Milliken said that his busy schedule made it impossible to debate. Reilly, in turn, said that the incumbent congressman was "full of phony excuses" and "afraid of the voters".
On October 14, Clark was referred to as the "father of the idea of annexation of Delaware County to Philadelphia" by Milliken. Finally, the Democrats were moved to respond in a fury. Upper Darby Democratic chairman Joseph J. Helyenek charged that the county GOP was attempting to set up "an unjust and filthy equation: Democratic victory means annexation... annexation means invasion (of the suburbs) by hordes of unwelcome colored people." Continuing the low-blows of the campaign, VanZandt spoke at the Young Republican annual picnic at the Springfield Country Club, calling Senator Clark "a left-winger, soft on Cuba, Red China and Communism". Clark responded: "This is the first time in Pennsylvania political history that the red smear has been used as a major issue in a statewide campaign." He urged voters to elect Democrats "to give President Kennedy a Congress that will help him, not hamstring him."
On October 23, Dilworth campaigned on 69th Street, denouncing his favorite target, McClure, and his "outright lies". He then really ventured deeply into "enemy" territory by visiting the county Courthouse in Media where he was booed and hissed by some county employees who were giving out GOP literature. County Commission chairman Watkins objected to the visit, stating that it would "disrupt the work of our employees". Dilworth replied by asking: "What work? What employees?" He then blasted McClure, stating that Scranton had been hand-picked by the head of the War Board, who also kept Delaware County "isolated" and out of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Compact because "the Federal government won't pay him off and he doesn't go into anything unless there is a payoff involved". Denying charges that he favored annexation of the suburbs, Dilworth said he favored voluntary cooperation between cities and suburbs.
When the furious election activity came to an end and the voters went to the polls, the result was mixed on the statewide level. Eight years of Democratic rule of the governor's mansion ended with Scranton's lopsided victory over Dilworth, 2.4 million votes to 1.9 million. But voters continued their ticket-splitting habit that began statewide in 1956, by reelecting Clark narrowly over VanZandt, 2.2 million votes to 2.1 million, about 51%. With the state losing three congressional seats due to reapportionment, the Republicans had a net loss of two seats in the election, while the Democrats lost one, but the lineup was still in favor of the GOP, 14 to 13.
Nationally, with the Cuban missile crisis unfolding late in October and the nation rallying behind their chief executive, the Democrats actually gained three seats in the Senate and lost only five in the House, with the GOP gaining one seat. With reapportionment, the size of the House of Representatives, which had temporarily been increased to 437 members, with the recent statehood of Alaska and Hawaii, was decreased to 435, where it remains today.
Locally, Milliken coasted to a huge victory, 136,955 to Reilly's 88,482. Scranton carried Delaware County by an even greater margin, 142,262 to 84,221. While some ticket-splitting gave VanZandt a smaller edge of 36,000 over Clark. Scranton's brand of moderate Republicanism, the genuine suburban fear of city problems spilling over county lines, plus a well-financed campaign war chest, enabled him to score particularly well in Dilworth's Philadelphia, with a respectable 339,790 votes to the Mayor's 446,528. Scranton then piled up a whopping 392,869 votes in the suburbs to Dilworth's 219,991, more than neutralizing the Democrats' lead in the city. Scranton also did particularly well in normally Democratic western Pennsylvania, carrying Allegheny County by over 50,000 votes, as well as Beaver, Lawrence, and Westmoreland counties.
Many borough and township governments passed resolutions eulogizing the slain leader. In Marple Township Mariano E. Martinez, the chairman of the Zoning Board proposed unsuccessfully that the Paxon Hollow Junior High School be renamed in honor of Kennedy. There was no public comment recorded from Congressman Milliken, who was recovering in a Bethesda, Maryland hospital from a heart attack at the time.
However, it was reported that no sooner had the dust settled from the 1963 General Election in Delaware County, another fierce struggle for power had broken out among members of the Republican ruling circles. This time, Milliken had aligned himself with Dickey against McClure in an attempt to take over the War Board. It appeared that McClure had attempted to appoint Upper Darby Township Commissioner George Hill, a former Dickey rival, to the War Board, rather than a representative chosen by Dickey. The Upper Darby Board of Commissioners, in their other capacity as GOP ward leaders, voted to nominate Dickey himself to the War Board. It also was rumored that both Milliken and Williams were dumped by the War Board, but this was denied by Williams.
By early 1964, the War Board split had attracted four other Republican candidates for Milliken's seat: Harold Ervin of Media; John G. Pew, replacing Swing on the War Board; attorney Stephen McEwen of Upper Darby; and former county commissioner Watkins. Matters came to a head on February 7, when the War Board endorsed Watkins over Milliken, citing the latter's poor health as the reason for rejection. Milliken received only one vote, presumably his own, in the War Board polling.
Later than month, the Collingdale GOP followed the lead of Glenolden, Darby, Prospect Park and Tinicum, in dumping Milliken as its representative on the War Board. There was some measure of suspense as Milliken pondered another race, this time as an independent, but on February 18, he issued a terse statement: "After consideration, I have decided not to be a candidate for reelection to the U.S. Congress."