Cary A. Hardee
Cary Hardee portrait.jpg
23rd Governor of Florida
In office
January 4, 1921 – January 6, 1925
Preceded bySidney J. Catts
Succeeded byJohn W. Martin
Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives
In office
Preceded byIon Farris
Succeeded byGeorge H. Wilder
Personal details
Born(1876-11-13)November 13, 1876
Taylor County, Florida, U.S.
DiedNovember 21, 1957(1957-11-21) (aged 81)
Live Oak, Florida, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseMaude Randell Hardee

Cary Augustus Hardee (November 13, 1876 – November 21, 1957) was an American educator, lawyer, legislator, and banker who served as the 23rd Governor of Florida.


Early life and career

Born in Taylor County, Florida, he spent most of his life in Live Oak, Florida. He was a teacher until 1900 when he was admitted to the bar and began practicing law.[1] Additionally, he was a banker, establishing the First National Bank of Live Oak in 1902 and later serving as its president. He also organized the Mayo State Bank and was president of the Branford State Bank.[2]

Political career

In 1905 he became the state's attorney for the Third Judicial District. He served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1915 to 1919, and was speaker of the Florida House.[2][3]

Gubernatorial campaign issues

Hardee identified his positions on the issues of better and more efficient government, taxation, waterways and roads, agriculture, and veterans' affairs in a 1920 newspaper article.[4]


He took office as governor on January 4, 1921.[2] During his term, the state adopted constitutional amendments that reapportioned the legislature and prohibited the levying of state income and inheritance taxes along with starting the first state gasoline tax.[3] Six counties would be created during his tenure as governor.[5] He also halted the practice of leasing state prisoners out to private businesses.[3] During his term as governor, electrocution became a legal method of execution in Florida.[citation needed]


Hardee left office on January 6, 1925.[2] He ran for governor again in 1932, but lost the Democratic primary.[6]

He was a banker in Live Oak until his death in 1957.[6]

Honors and memorials

Hardee County, Florida is named in his honor.[7]

Electoral history

1932 Florida Democratic gubernatorial primary[8]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John W. Martin 66,940 24.19
Democratic David Sholtz 55,406 20.02
Democratic Cary A. Hardee 50,427 18.22
Democratic Stafford Caldwell 44,938 16.24
Democratic Charles W. Durrance 36,291 13.12
Democratic T. S. Hart 9,525 3.44
Democratic Arthur Gomez 9,244 3.34
Democratic J. Thomas Watson 3,949 1.43
Total votes 276,720 100.00
1920 Florida gubernatorial election[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Cary A. Hardee 103,407 77.94%
Republican George E. Gay 23,788 17.93%
Socialist F.C. Whitaker 2,823 2.13%
Independent W.L. VanDuzer 2,654 2.00%
Majority 79,619
Democratic hold Swing
1920 Florida Democratic gubernatorial primary[8]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Cary A. Hardee 52,591 59.48
Democratic Van C. Swearingen 30,240 34.20
Democratic Lincoln Hulley 5,591 6.32
Total votes 88,422 100.00


  1. ^ "Governor Cary A. Hardee born on this date". 12 November 2015. Archived from the original on 2020-09-19.
  2. ^ a b c d "Cary Augustus Hardee". National Governors Association. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  3. ^ a b c "Cary Augustus Hardee - Florida Department of State". Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  4. ^ "Cary A. Harding Leading Candidate for Governor". The Leesburg Commercial. January 16, 1920. Retrieved May 13, 2021.
  5. ^ "Cary Augustus Hardee". National Governors Association. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  6. ^ a b "Cary Augustus Hardee - Florida Department of State". Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  7. ^ "Hardee County, Florida: History and Information". Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  8. ^ a b The Florida Handbook. 1987. ISBN 9780961600006. Retrieved 2020-06-01.
  9. ^ McGovern, Bernie (2007). Florida Almanac 2007-2008. ISBN 9781455604418. Retrieved 2020-06-01.
Party political offices Preceded byWilliam V. Knott Democratic nominee for Governor of Florida 1920 Succeeded byJohn W. Martin Political offices Preceded bySidney J. Catts Governor of Florida January 4, 1921 – January 6, 1925 Succeeded byJohn W. Martin