James C. Smith

James C. Smith
21st & 24th Florida Secretary of State
In office
Governor Jeb Bush
Preceded by Katherine Harris
Succeeded by Ken Detzner (acting)
In office
Governor Bob Martinez
Lawton Chiles
Preceded by George Firestone
Succeeded by Sandra Mortham
32nd Attorney General of Florida
In office
Governor Bob Graham
Preceded by Robert Shevin
Succeeded by Bob Butterworth
Personal details
Born (1940-05-25) May 25, 1940
Jacksonville, Florida
Political party Democratic (before 1987)
Republican (after 1987)
Profession Attorney

James Cloudis Smith (born May 25, 1940)[1] is an American lawyer. He has served as Florida Attorney General and Florida Secretary of State, and is the Chairman of the Florida State University Board of Trustees.[2]

Early years

Smith received his B.S. degree in Government and Public Administration from Florida State University in 1962, and while in college he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. In addition he received his J.D. from Stetson University College of Law in 1967. Also he served in the U.S. Army Reserves and earned the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.

Political career

Smith started out as a Democrat in his political career. He became Florida Attorney General in 1979, succeeding Robert Shevin, and he would go on to serve in this capacity until 1987. In 1986, he ran for Governor, but narrowly lost the Democratic runoff to liberal state Representative Steve Pajcic. Later he would become a Republican and be appointed Florida Secretary of State in 1987. He was the first Republican to serve on the State Cabinet since Reconstruction and during the Florida state elections of 1988, he and Tom Gallagher became the first Republicans to be elected to the State Cabinet since Reconstruction.[3] He served as Secretary of State until 1995.[4] He ran for Governor in 1994, but lost the primary to Jeb Bush.

After he completed his term as the Florida Secretary of State, he would go into private practice in Tallahassee, Florida. He is currently a shareholder for Smith & Ballard and serves as Chairman of the Board at Florida State.

He later served as Secretary of State of Florida again from 2002 till 2003.

When it was announced that U.S. Senator Mel Martinez would resign from the Senate during the August 2009 recess, there was widespread speculation that Smith would be appointed to replace him, with the expectation that Smith would be a caretaker who would not seek reelection to a full term .


  1. Morris, A.C. (1993). The Florida Handbook. Peninsular Publishing Company. ISSN 0361-9788. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  2. Biographical info
  3. "Smith tops Moore; Gallagher over Jenne". Ocala Star-Banner. November 9, 1988. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  4. "CNN Transcript - Saturday Morning News: Florida Lives Up to 'Battleground State' Designation - November 11, 2000 – CNN Interviews former Secretary of State Smith". transcripts.cnn.com. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Robert L. Shevin
Attorney General of Florida
Succeeded by
Bob Butterworth
Political offices
Preceded by
George Firestone
Secretary of State of Florida
Succeeded by
Sandra Mortham
Preceded by
Katherine Harris
Secretary of State of Florida
Succeeded by
Ken Detzner
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