Bill Waller

Bill Waller

Governor Less

Bill Waller

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William Lowe "Bill" Waller, Sr. (born October 21, 1926) is an American politician. A Democrat, he served as Governor of Mississippi from 1972 to 1976. As a local prosecutor, he unsuccessfully prosecuted Byron De La Beckwith in the murder of civil rights advocate Medgar Evers. Both trials ended in hung juries. Because De La Beckwith was never acquitted in these trials, he was later eligible to be prosecuted again. In 1994, De La Beckwith was found guilty of the murder. Waller's main opponent for governor in the 1971 general election was Evers' brother, James Charles Evers, then the mayor of Fayette, who ran as an independent. Waller handily prevailed, 601,222 (77 percent) to Evers' 172,762 (22.1 percent).

Waller is credited with successfully winning elections without using racially charged or racially offensive rhetoric. He organized working class white voters and African American voters separately and usually did not merge their election efforts until it was too late in the election cycle for internal conflicts to disrupt the campaign. Waller effectively shut-down the segregationist Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission by vetoing its appropriation while he was governor. He appointed many blacks to positions in state government.

After leaving office, Waller lost the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate in 1978 and for governor again in 1987. He has practiced law in Jackson for several years.

His son is the Hon. William L. Waller, Jr., Presiding......
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