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CBS News editor, pollster, professor Dotty Lynch dies at 69

Tuesday - 8/12/2014, 6:41am  ET

DottyLynch.jpg
Dotty Lynch was a CBS editor, political analyst, pollster and professor. She died on Aug. 10 at the age of 69. (Courtesy American University)

WASHINGTON -- Political analyst, pollster, editor and professor Dotty Lynch died Sunday, Aug. 10 at the age of 69 after battling melanoma.

Politico calls Lynch "an early leader among women in the polling industry at a time when survey research -- like most sectors of political consulting -- was dominated overwhelmingly by men."

In 1984, Lynch, a Democratic pollster, became the first woman to be the chief pollster for a presidential campaign, hired by Democrat Gary Hart. From 1985 through 2005, she served as the senior political editor for CBS News.

A CBS internal memo from "Evening News" producer Ward Sloane calls Lynch "a rare combination of book smart, street smart and incredibly funny."

At CBS, she re-created and formatted The CBS News Campaign Directory in 1992 -- "a pocket-sized book that had every phone number of every official any political reporter or producer could want. It was the envy of the road " Sloane says.

She also managed the coverage of five presidential campaigns, authored CBS's "Political Points" column and helped lead the CBS News/New York Times polling consortium, Politico reports.

In 2006, Lynch became a full-time professor at American University where she taught in the School of Communication; she retired this past spring. During her years there, she continued to contribute to CBS News Radio and CBSNews.com.

According to American University, Lynch team-taught a class on the presidential primaries and took 28 students to New Hampshire for the 2008 primary. Lynch served as a consultant on elections up until 2012 -- the year that marked her 22nd congressional or presidential election as a journalist and pollster.

Her love for politics even impacted her love life. In 2003, Lynch married Richard Morgan Downey. The two met while working at the Democratic National Committee's offices at the Watergate complex in the '70s.

Lynch is survived by Downey and stepson Robert, Politico reports.

"She will always be a part of our tradition," CBS's Sloane says.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Lynch's age.

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