Mack Mattingly

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Mack Mattingly
United States Senator
from Georgia
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1987
Preceded by Herman E. Talmadge
Succeeded by W. Wyche Fowler, Jr.
United States Ambassador to Seychelles
In office
September 22, 1992 – March 1, 1993
Appointed by George H.W. Bush
Preceded by Dick Carlson
Succeeded by Carl Stokes
Personal details
Born Mack Francis Mattingly
(1931-01-07) January 7, 1931 (age 87)
Anderson, Indiana, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) (1) Carolyn Mattingly, 1957–1997
(2) Leslie Davisson Mattingly, 1998–present
Children Jane, Anne
Alma mater Indiana University
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Air Force
Years of service 1951-1955
Unit Hunter Army Air Field

Mack Francis Mattingly (born January 7, 1931) is an American diplomat and politician who served one term as a United States senator from Georgia, the first Republican to have served in the U.S. Senate from that state since Reconstruction.

Early life[edit]

Mattingly was born in Anderson, Indiana, on January 7, 1931. He served four years in the United States Air Force and was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia, in the early 1950s. In 1957, he earned a bachelor of science degree in marketing from Indiana University.[1] Afterward, he worked for twenty years for IBM Corporation in Georgia and later operated his own business, M's Inc., which sold office supplies and equipment in Brunswick, Georgia.

Early political career[edit]

Mattingly first became active in politics in 1964 when he served as chairman of U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater's campaign for President in Georgia's 8th congressional district.[2] Goldwater carried Georgia. Two years later, Mattingly would help Bo Callaway organize the Georgia Republican Party and joined his ticket as a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives against Congressman W. S. Stuckey, Jr. Mattingly lost the race but was elected a member of the Georgia Republican Party State Executive Committee and served as Vice Chairman from 1968 until 1975. He served as Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party from 1975 to 1977 when he began exploring a race for the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Senate tenure[edit]

In 1980, Mattingly scored a historic upset, defeating longtime Democratic Senator Herman Talmadge, outpolling Ronald Reagan who lost the state in the Presidential election to Jimmy Carter.[3] Mattingly served in the Senate from January 1981 until January 1987, with membership on the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations, chairing first the United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Legislative Branch and later the United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. Mattingly also served at various times on the Senate Banking Committee, the Governmental Affairs Committee, the Joint Economic Committee and the Ethics Committee. He is perhaps best remembered as a proponent of the line-item veto, a position that earned him recognition by President Ronald Reagan during his 1985 State of the Union Address.

Post senatorial career[edit]

In November 1986, Mattingly was narrowly defeated in his bid for re-election by former Congressman Wyche Fowler of Atlanta. In 1987, Reagan appointed Mattingly assistant secretary-general for defense support for NATO in Brussels, Belgium. In 1988, Mattingly received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. In 1992, President George H. W. Bush appointed Mattingly ambassador to Seychelles. He served in this position until 1993.

Mattingly remains active on several corporate and nonprofit boards. Mattingly ran against Democrat Zell Miller in the 2000 special election to replace the deceased Senator Paul Coverdell, but Miller succeeded in holding the seat to which he had been appointed by Governor Roy Barnes. Mattingly endorsed John McCain for President in 2008, Mitt Romney in 2012 and Donald Trump in 2016. His advice is sought by many Republican candidates.

Personal life[edit]

Mattingly married Carolyn Longcamp in 1957, and fathered two daughters, Jane and Anne. Carolyn Mattingly died in 1997. In 1998, he married Leslie Davisson, a lawyer, mediator and former judge. He currently lives on St. Simons Island, Georgia. He continues to be active in Republican politics, and he serves on a number of corporate boards.


  1. ^ Dowis, Richard: The lost art of the great speech: how to write it, how to deliver it. See page 207.
  2. ^ Lee Cokorinos, The Assault on Diversity: An Organized Challenge to Racial and Gender Justice, p. 108.
  3. ^ Minchin, Timothy J. (2015). "'An Historic Upset': Herman Talmadge's 1980 Senate Defeat and the End of a Political Dynasty". Georgia Historical, Quarterly. 99 (3): 156–197. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Herman Talmadge
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Georgia
Served alongside: Sam Nunn
Succeeded by
Wyche Fowler, Jr.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Richard W. Carlson
United States Ambassador to Seychelles
Succeeded by
F. Stephen Malott
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jerry Johnson
Republican Party nominee for United States Senator from Georgia (Class 3)
1980, 1986
Succeeded by
Paul Coverdell
Preceded by
Paul Coverdell
Republican Party nominee for United States Senator from Georgia (Class 3)
Succeeded by
Johnny Isakson