Ex-Democratic Party chairman Charles Manatt dies

Posted July 26, 2011, at 9:49 p.m.
Last modified July 26, 2011, at 10:21 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Charles T. Manatt, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and a U.S. ambassador during the Clinton administration, has died. He was 75.

His daughter, Michele A. Manatt, said he died Friday at Kindred Hospital in Richmond, Va., of complications from a stroke.

Manatt was party chairman from 1981-85, the first term of Republican Ronald Reagan and a difficult period for Democrats. A longtime California Democrat, Manatt was credited with building the party’s finances, modernizing it through computerization, direct mail and other initiatives, and building a new headquarters in Washington.

Manatt was a chairman of the California Democratic Party during the 1970s and later served as finance chairman of the national party. He also was a trustee of George Washington University from 1980-2008 and its chairman of the board of trustees from 2001-2007.

Survivors include his wife, Kathleen, and their three children, Michele, Timothy and Daniel.