Charles A. Halleck

Charles A. Halleck

Charles Abraham Halleck (August 22, 1900 – March 3, 1986) was a Republican leader of the United States House of Representatives from the second district of Indiana.

Halleck was born near DeMotte, in Jasper County, Indiana, the son of Abraham and Lura (née Luce) Halleck. He served in the Infantry of the United States Army, during World War I. After military service, Halleck attended Indiana University at Bloomington. In 1924 Halleck was admitted to the bar and began practicing in Rensselaer. From 1924 and 1934 he was the Prosecuting Attorney for the thirteenth district court.

Following the death of the congressman-elect Frederick Landis in 1935, Halleck replaced him and remained in that position until 1969. A prominent member of the Conservative coalition, he served as the House Majority Leader after the elections of 1946 and 1952; he was House Minority Leader 1959-1964.

Halleck noted that a highlight of his career came at the 1940 Republican convention when he nominated another politician from Indiana, Wendell Wilkie. Noting the mixed reception he got, Halleck said, "I got more brickbats and more bouquets over that speech than any other I've ever made."

According to Halleck, he was rumored to be Thomas Dewey's vice-presidential nominee in 1948 on the condition that Halleck guarantee the support of the Indiana delegation at the Republican convention. In the end, Dewey selected Earl Warren from California, with that duo suffering a stunning upset defeat that November to the Democratic ticket of Harry Truman and Alben Barkley.

He was a strong opponent of the liberal social proposals of Democrats John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, but supported the Vietnam War and was one of the strongest advocates for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Along with Senator Everett Dirksen he was the face of the Republican Party during most of the 1960s, and made frequent appearances on television news and talk programs. The press jocularly nicknamed his joint appearances with Mr. Dirksen the "Ev and Charlie Show."

After the 1964 election, Halleck was defeated in his bid to remain Minority Leader by Gerald Ford, who was the leader of a younger faction.

Charles Halleck was married to Blanche Annetta White, who died in 1973. They had two children. Halleck died in Lafayette, Indiana on March 3, 1986 and is buried next to his wife in Rensselaer.

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