Concept

Albert Watson (South Carolina politician)

Summary
Albert William Watson (August 30, 1922 – September 25, 1994) was an American politician, a Democrat-turned-Republican state and U.S. representative from South Carolina. He is best known for his losing 1970 campaign for governor of South Carolina, which has been described as the last high-profile, openly segregationist campaign in American politics. Albert William Watson was born in 1922 to Claude Watson, Sr. and his wife in Sumter in central South Carolina. His family moved and he was reared near the state capital of Columbia in Lexington County, where he attended public schools. He subsequently enrolled at the former North Greenville Junior College in Greenville, South Carolina. During World War II, Watson served as a weather specialist in the United States Army Air Forces. In 1950, he graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law and thereafter opened his legal practice in Columbia. In 1954, he was elected from Richland County to the South Carolina House of Representatives, which he served from 1955 to 1959 and again from 1961 to 1963. In 1958, Watson lost the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor to Burnet Maybank, Jr., son of former U.S. Senator Burnet Maybank. In 1961, Watson returned to the state House for a final two-year term. In 1948, Watson married the former Lillian Audrey Williams (born 1926), and the couple had three children, Laura L. Watson, Albert Watson, Jr., and Clark P. Watson. A Southern Baptist deacon, Watson had a twin brother, Allan R. Watson (1922-2001), who was a Baptist minister and served as the pastor of churches in Florida and Alabama. He preached at the White House in September 1969. A second brother, Claude Watson, Jr., of Columbia, died in 2003. In 1962, Watson first ran for South Carolina's 2nd congressional district seat in the U.S. House to fill the opening created when fellow Democrat John J. Riley died on New Year's Day. His wife, Corinne Boyd Riley, had won a special election to serve out the remainder of the term, but did not run for a full term in November.
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