William M. Colmer

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Colmer in 1940

William Meyers Colmer (February 11, 1890 - September 9, 1980) was a Mississippi politician.

Colmer was born in Moss Point, Mississippi, and attended Millsaps College. He served in the military during World War I.

Colmer was elected Jackson County attorney in 1921, becoming district attorney in 1928.

In 1932, Colmer was elected to the House of Representatives as a Democrat from Mississippi's 6th District, located on the Gulf Coast. He was reelected 19 times. His district was renumbered the 5th after the 1960 Census, when Mississippi's declining population cost it a congressional seat.

Originally elected as a supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, Colmer became increasingly conservative as the years passed. He became disenchanted as the national Democratic Party began to support the African-American Civil Rights Movement. After the Brown v. Board of Education decision by the United States Supreme Court, ruling that public school segregation was unconstitutional, Colmer helped to get Southern Democrat congressmen to sign the "Southern Manifesto" declaring their resistance.

Colmer endorsed the Republican Party candidates Richard Nixon for president in 1960, 1968 and 1972, and Barry Goldwater in 1964. Because of his seniority, he advanced to the position as chairman of the Rules Committee, serving from 1967 to 1973.

Colmer did not run for reelection in 1972. He endorsed his administrative assistant, Trent Lott, as his successor, although Lott ran as a Republican. Colmer served longer in either house of Congress than anyone in Mississippi's history except Jamie Whitten, who served 54 years in Congress.

See also[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert S. Hall
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 6th congressional district

1933-1963
District eliminated after Census 1960
Preceded by
W. Arthur Winstead
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 5th congressional district

1963-1973
Succeeded by
Trent Lott

References[edit]