Nelson Rockefeller was an heir to the legendary Rockefeller fortune. He won an unreal four consecutive elections for Governor in Democratic leaning New York State. He ran for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1964 against Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. Unfortunately for him, the Republican Party did not trust his more moderate brand of Republicanism and the unthinkable occured. Not only did he lose, but he even received a lot of boos from some of the delegates while he was making his speech at the 1964 Republican Convention. He made a much more measured attempt to win the GOP Presidential nomination in 1968, as did then Governor Reagan of California, but both of them lost out to Richard Nixon.
Governor Rockefeller faced the greatest crisis of his political career in September of 1971 when a major riot occured at the Attica Correctional Facility in Upstate New York. The four-day seige was finally ended with force and when all was said and done, 29 inmates and 10 hostages had been killed. It has been said that President Richard Nixon looked favorably upon Governor Rockefeller's decision to end the riot after four days, even if it meant using force. When Richard Nixon resigned as President in 1974 and Gerald Ford succeeeded him, this created a vacancy for the office of Vice-President and Ford secured Rockefeller for the post. It has been rumored that Ford wanted Rockefeller to be his running mate in the 1976 Presidential Election campaign, but due to growing pressure from the conservative wing of the Republican Party, VP Rockefeller announced well in advance of the 1976 election that he was removing himself for 1976 VP nominating consideration.
"Rocky", as he was affectionately called by many, died on January 26, 1979 at age 70.