Charles Wayne Dowdy (born July 27, 1943) is a former United States Congressman from Mississippi, United States Senate candidate and currently chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party.
Dowdy was born in Fitzgerald
, Ben Hill County
Dowdy practiced law and owned two local radio stations before being elected Mayor of McComb from 1978-1981.
On July 7
, Dowdy was elected to the House of Representatives
as a Democrat
in a special election
for the 4th District, a mildly significant event because the Democrats recaptured a Southern district from the Republicans
. Dowdy carefully managed to avoid drawing strong Republican
challengers in the general election
or African American
opponents in the Democratic primary
. He won re-election narrowly in 1982 and 1984, with 53 percent and 55 percent of the vote, before being re-elected with 72 percent of the vote in the 1986 elections. He was notable for being a rather progressive
Democrat in a district with a 37 percent African American population; he voted for renewal of the Voting Rights Act
In 1988, when John Stennis retired from the Senate Dowdy won the Democratic nomination. His opponent was Republican Congressman Trent Lott. Dowdy was unable to implement his rural strategy. George H. W. Bush carried Mississippi 59 percent-39 percent, which allowed Lott to defeat Dowdy by a 54 percent-45 percent margin.
Dowdy attempted to stage a comeback against Governor Ray Mabus in the 1991 Democratic primaries, but lost with 41 percent of the vote.
Dowdy's trademark slogan as the chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party has been "It's a great time to be a Democrat."
Dowdy and his wife, Susan, have three children. His wife is from Grenada, Mississippi
He currently practices law in Magnolia, Mississippi. His family owns several radio stations in Mississippi and Louisiana. He is a former staff announcer for television station WJTV-TV in Jackson, Mississippi.
He is a graduate of Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. He is United Methodist in faith.