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Cliff Finch

In office
January 1976 – January 1980
Lieutenant Evelyn Gandy
Preceded by Bill Waller
Succeeded by Bill Winter

Born April 4, 1927
Pope, Mississippi
Died April 22, 1986 (aged 59)
Batesville, Mississippi
Political party Democratic
Religion Baptist

Charles Clifton "Cliff" Finch (April 4, 1927  – April 22, 1986) was an American politician who was governor of the U.S. state of Mississippi from 1976 to 1980.

Life and career

Finch was born in Pope, Mississippi. At the age of 18, he enlisted to fight in World War II; he participated in the Italian Campaign as part of the 88th Infantry Division. After the war, Finch worked in construction on Guam. He then attended the University of Mississippi and graduated from its law school in 1958.

Finch entered politics and was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1960. He was elected district attorney for the Seventeenth judicial district in 1964 and re-elected in 1968. He was an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor in 1971.

In 1975, Finch composed a coalition of African American and working class White voters in a populist style campaign. Late in the campaign, as a way to show his concern for working people, he sacked groceries, drove bulldozers, and performed other jobs that are connected to ordinary people. This was an innovation in campaigning styles because television news organization were especially responsive to campaign events with interesting visual components. As another example, Finch's campaign slogan was "the working man's friend" and featured the letters on a black lunch box in drawings and placards. This campaign tactic proved to be popular as Finch was elected over Republican candidate Gil Carmichael and independent candidate Henry Kirksey. Carmichael did, however, draw 45 percent of the vote, an exceptionally high figure for a statewide Republican candidate at that time.

As Governor, Finch helped save Mississippi's savings and loan industry from collapse and provided flood relief in 1979.

While still Governor, Finch ran for the United States Senate in 1978 but he was defeated in the Democratic party Primary by Maurice Dantin.

After leaving office, Finch ran for President in 1980. He received 48,032 votes (0.3% of the Democratic primary vote total) in nine primaries. After his campaign for President ended, he returned to his law practice until his death on April 22, 1986 in Batesville, Mississippi from a massive heart attack.


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
William Waller
Governor of Mississippi
Succeeded by
William Winter


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