Former Democratic National Committee chairman Charles T. Manatt died Friday, according to the Associated Press. He was 75.

Manatt’s influence in the Democratic party extended from the 1970s, when he was chair of the California Democratic Party, through the end of his life.


Manatt was chair of the DNC from 1981-85 during the Reagan administration and a U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic from 1999-2001 in the Clinton administration.

He is credited with modernizing the DNC and rebuilding the party’s finances during the Reagan era. He also served as co-chairman of Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonLeft laughs off floated changes to 2024 ticket A year into his presidency, Biden is polling at an all-time low Second gentleman Emhoff acts as public link to White House MORE's presidential campaign in 1992.

Current DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz called Manatt a “lifelong Democrat” in a statement released Saturday. “His opinion remained sought after to the day of his death, and his influence will long be felt in our party,” she said. “With Chuck Manatt’s passing our country and our party lost a very good man.”

Manatt was born on June 9, 1936 in Chicago. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in 1958 and a law degree from George Washington University in 1962. He founded the influential law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLC. in Los Angeles in 1965.

The Los Angeles Times reports Manatt died at Kindred Hospital in Richmond, Va., of complications from a stroke suffered after surgery in November.

He is survived by his wife Kathleen and three children Michele, Timothy and Daniel.

This post was updated at 11:20 a.m.