Earl Hutto

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Earl Hutto
Earl Dewitt Hutto.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1979 – January 3, 1995
Preceded byBob Sikes
Succeeded byJoe Scarborough
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 8th district
In office
November 7, 1972 – November 2, 1978
Preceded byBilly Joe Rish
Succeeded byRon Johnson
Personal details
Born
Earl Dewitt Hutto

(1926-05-12)May 12, 1926
Midland City, Alabama
DiedDecember 14, 2020(2020-12-14) (aged 94)
Pensacola, Florida
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
Nancy Myers
(m. 1967)
[1]

Earl Dewitt Hutto (May 12, 1926 – December 14, 2020) was an American politician who served as U.S. Representative from Florida's 1st congressional district.

Early life[edit]

Born in Midland City, Alabama, Hutto attended Dale County public schools, and received a Bachelor of Science from Troy State University in 1949. He served in the United States Navy from 1944 to 1946. Afterward he returned to graduate school, studying broadcasting at Northwestern University in 1951. He worked as sports director at WEAR-TV in Pensacola, Florida from 1954 to 1961, WSFA-TV in Montgomery, Alabama from 1961 to 1963, and WJHG-TV in Panama City, Florida, from 1961 to 1973. He operated an advertising agency from 1973 to 1979.

Political career[edit]

Hutto was elected as a Democrat to the Florida House of Representatives in 1972 and was reelected in 1974 and 1976. He was elected in 1978 to the 96th and to the seven succeeding Congresses, serving from January 3, 1979, to January 3, 1995. He decided not to run as a candidate in 1994 for reelection to the 104th Congress.

Hutto was one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress. This was not surprising given the nature of his district. It moved away from its "Solid South" roots somewhat sooner than the rest of Florida; its white voters had begun splitting their tickets as early as the 1950s. However, Hutto usually skated to reelection for most of his tenure, with Republicans usually fielding nominal challengers on the few times they fielded candidates at all.

From 1978 to 1988, Hutto never dropped below 61 percent of the vote, easily winning reelection even in years when Republican presidential candidates carried the 1st in landslides. In 1984, for instance, he was completely unopposed for reelection even as Ronald Reagan carried the district with over 70 percent of the vote. In 1988, as George H. W. Bush carried the 1st by a similar margin to the one Reagan scored four years earlier, Hutto was reelected with 66 percent of the vote. Despite his popularity in the district, it was widely believed that he would be succeeded by a Republican once he retired, given its growing Republican trend at the national level.[citation needed]

He voted against the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act in 1986.[2]

In 1990, Republican challenger Terry Ketchel held Hutto to 52 percent of the vote in the district's first competitive contest in recent memory. Hutto defeated Ketchel in a rematch in 1992, but was once again held to only 52 percent of the vote. He opted not to run for reelection in 1994, and was succeeded by Republican Joe Scarborough. Proving just how Republican this district was, no Democrat has garnered more than 40% of the vote since Hutto left office[citation needed].

Death[edit]

Hutto died in December 2020 at the age of 94.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Panama City News-Herald from Panama City, Florida on July 23, 1967 · Page 13
  2. ^ TO OVERRIDE THE PRESIDENT'S VETO OF HR 4868, A BILL TO PROHIBIT LOANS TO, OTHER INVESTMENTS IN, AND CERTAIN OTHER ACTIVITIES WITH RESPECT TO, SOUTH AFRICA (MOTION PASSED; TWO-...
  3. ^ "Former congressman and sportscaster Earl Hutto dies at 94". WMBB-TV. 16 December 2020. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert Sikes
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's 1st congressional district
1979–1995
Succeeded by
Joe Scarborough