Party affiliation: Democratic Party
Candler was known as a conservative governor. While he established pensions for Confederate widows, he otherwise cut back both taxes and government expenditures. Candler pushed for the establishment of a whites-only Democratic primary based on the legal notion that the Democratic Party was a private organization and therefore not subject to the Fifteenth Constitutional Amendment giving all Americans the right to vote, regardless of race. Since the Democratic Party had a monopoly on power in Southern states, the real selection of officeholders in Georgia occurred during the Democratic primary to select Democratic candidates for the fall general election. Democrats consistently won all of these offices from the end of Reconstruction in 1871 until the 1970s.
Candler's tenure as governor coincided with some of the most violent lynchings in Georgia's history. Although he publicly denounced mob violence, at the same time he blamed the victims of these incidents on black criminality and the increasing annoyance among whites of blacks demanding equal treatment. In an incident which culminated with the notorious lynching of Sam Hose in 1899, he berated the "better class" of blacks for not aiding authorities in his apprehension. These views were prominently printed in the Atlanta newspapers alongside those of the editors which urged the mobs on. Candler did ask the courts for speedier trials to head-off mob violence, and even admonished white women for not curtailing this blood-thirsty tendency in their men.
Born November 4, 1834
Died October 26, 1910