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William Wyche Fowler Jr. (born October 6, 1940) is an American former politician and diplomat. He is a member of the Democratic Party and served as a U.S. Senator from Georgia from January 1987 to January 1993. He had previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1977 until his senatorial election.

Wyche Fowler
Wyche Fowler.PNG
22nd United States Ambassador to
Saudi Arabia
In office
September 14, 1996 – March 1, 2001
PresidentBill Clinton
George W. Bush
Preceded byRay Mabus
Succeeded byRobert W. Jordan
United States Senator
from Georgia
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1993
Preceded byMack Mattingly
Succeeded byPaul Coverdell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia's 5th district
In office
April 6, 1977 – January 3, 1987
Preceded byAndrew Young
Succeeded byJohn Lewis
Personal details
Born (1940-10-06) October 6, 1940 (age 79)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materDavidson College (B.A.)
Emory University (J.D.)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1962-1964

Early life and careerEdit

Fowler was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended Davidson College, and then entered the U.S. Army as an intelligence officer. After discharge, he returned to school to earn a law degree from Emory University School of Law.

From 1965 to 1966, he became the chief of staff for Congressman Charles Weltner, and after holding this post for two years, he resigned to become a private attorney. From 1974 to 1977, he served as an Atlanta City Councilman, and he used this position as a stepping stone to the House.

Congressional serviceEdit

On April 5, 1977, he was elected in a special election to the U.S. House of Representatives, to fill the vacancy caused by Andrew Young's resignation upon appointment as US Ambassador to the United Nations.

In 1986, as a U.S. Representative, Fowler narrowly defeated the incumbent Republican Senator Mack Mattingly. Fowler served as the junior senator from Georgia; Sam Nunn was the serving senior senator at that time. Fowler's voting record was liberal on social concerns and moderate on economic and national security issues.

On October 15, 1991, Fowler was one of seven Southern Democrats who voted to confirm the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court in a 52 to 48 vote, the narrowest margin of approval in more than a century.

He unexpectedly lost his re-election bid in 1992 to Georgia state Senator Paul Coverdell (who would later become leader of the state's Republican party). Fowler won a small plurality of the vote against Coverdell on general election night 1992, but Georgia law requires a runoff election between the two candidates with the highest vote totals if no one candidate receives over 50 percent (a majority) of the total vote, and a Libertarian Party candidate received enough votes to keep Fowler's total below 50 percent-plus-one. In the runoff on November 24, 1992, Coverdell upset Fowler by a narrow margin.

The New York Times noted that "he was the key figure in orchestrating a compromise on financing for the National Endowment for the Arts."[1]

Post-Congress careerEdit

Fowler went on to serve as the Clinton administration's United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in 1996. Fowler left the position in the spring of 2001 after the change of presidential administrations.[2]

After leaving the position, Fowler joined the law firm of Powell, Goldstein, Frazer, and Murphy, and he joined several corporate and academic boards, including those of the Carter Center at Emory University and the Morehouse School of Medicine. He also became board chairman of the Middle East Institute and is a member of the ReFormers Caucus of Issue One.[3]


  1. ^ Rasky, Susan (29 June 1990). "Washington Talk; For Freshman Senator, A Unifying Budget Role". New York Times. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  2. ^ Graham, Keith (June 28, 2001). "A bridge between two worlds Wyche Fowler balanced the fight against terrorism with tactful diplomacy in the Middle East, and his ties to the region continue". The Atlanta Constitution. p. B1.
  3. ^ "Issue One – ReFormers Caucus". Retrieved 2019-11-07.

External linksEdit