SIDNEY JOHNSTON CATTS - GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA (1917-1921)

Sidney Johnston Catts
Sidney Johnston Catts (July 31, 1863—March 9, 1936) was an American politician. He was the 22nd Governor of Florida and with Congressman Charles Randall of California one of only two members of the Prohibition Party to ever hold office.

Catts was born in Pleasant Hill, Alabama and he earned a law degree from Cumberland School of Law at Cumberland University in 1882. Catts became a pastor in Alabama and soon he moved to Florida. Catts then left his job as a pastor to sell insurance.

In 1916, he ran for Governor of Florida as a Democrat. He won the nomination at first, but a recount was ordered and he came in second. After that, he received the nomination of the Prohibition Party. Catts called for reform but also espoused anti-Catholicism and racism. He publicly labeled black residents as part of "an inferior race," and refused to criticize two lynchings in 1919. When the NAACP complained about these lynchings, Catts wrote denouncing the organization and blacks generally, declaring that "Your Race is always harping on the disgrace it brings to the state by a concourse of white people taking revenge for the dishonoring of a white woman, when if you would . Your people not to kill our white officers and disgrace our white women, you would keep down a thousand times greater disgrace." . On election day, he was able to win the election with 43% of the vote. Catts served as governor from January 2, 1917 to January 4, 1921. As Governor, his proposals for reform were stopped by the state legislature.

Catts was ineligible to run for reelection in 1920 and he ran for the United States Senate as a Democrat, losing by a large margin to Senator Duncan U. Fletcher. Catts ran for Governor in 1924 and 1928, losing both times. Catts was one of the Democrats who worked against Presidential nominee Al Smith due to his religion.

Catts died in DeFuniak Springs, Florida on March 9, 1936.

Source: Wikipedia

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