Alexander Wiley (May 26, 1884 – October 26, 1967) was a Republican who served four terms in the United States Senate for the state of Wisconsin from 1939 to 1963. When he left the Senate, he was its most senior Republican member.
|United States Senator|
January 3, 1939 – January 3, 1963
|Preceded by||F. Ryan Duffy|
|Succeeded by||Gaylord Nelson|
May 26, 1884|
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
October 26, 1967 (aged 83)|
|Alma mater||University of Michigan|
Wiley was born in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. He received his undergraduate education at Augsburg College in Minnesota and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1907 and was also admitted to the bar the same year. He served as the Chippewa County district attorney from 1909 to 1915.
Wiley was the Republican candidate for governor of Wisconsin in 1936, but his bid failed. Philip La Follette and the new Wisconsin Progressive Party, which split from the Republicans in 1934, won the election. In 1938, Wiley was elected to the U.S. Senate by defeating incumbent F. Ryan Duffy. In 1944, he was challenged by United States Marine Corps Captain Joseph R. McCarthy in the Republican primary. He defeated McCarthy and won the general election. Wiley, then an isolationist in foreign policy, and Governor Walter S. Goodland supported Republican presidential nominee Thomas E. Dewey in the 1944 race over incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Dewey won Wisconsin's electoral votes but fell far short nationally.
Wiley was re-elected two more times in 1950 and 1956. In 1956, he was challenged by U.S. Representative Glenn Robert Davis in the Republican primary, but again prevailed. In 1962, Wiley lost his bid for a fifth term to Governor Gaylord Nelson, a liberal Democrat. Wiley was the last Republican to serve as U.S. Senator from Wisconsin until the election of former 9th district congressman Bob Kasten in United States Senate elections, 1980.
Wiley had a distinguished Senate career that included the chairmanship of both the Foreign Relations and Judiciary committees.
Wiley died in Germantown, Pennsylvania at age 83. He was interred at Forest Hill Cemetery in Chippewa Falls. During his lifetime he was a member of the Freemasons, the Knights Templar, the Elks Club, the Kiwanis, the Knights of Pythias, the Moose International, the Sons of Norway, and Sigma Phi Epsilon.
- Wisconsin Historical Society-Alexander Wiley
- David M. Jordan, FDR, Dewey, and the Election of 1944 (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2011), p. 279, ISBN 978-0-253-35683-3
- "Former Sen. Wiley Is Dead at 83". The La Crosse Tribune. October 27, 1967. p. 1. Retrieved April 29, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- United States Congress. "Alexander Wiley (id: W000465)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
F. Ryan Duffy
| U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Wisconsin
Served alongside: Robert M. La Follette, Jr., Joseph McCarthy, William Proxmire
Gaylord A. Nelson
| Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
| Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Walter F. George