He then decided to enter politics and ran for governor in 1928 under the banner of his beloved Republican Party. Campaigning on a staunchly pro-commerce platform, he came closer to victory than any other post-Reconstruction Republican ever had, but lost all the same.
Howey continued devoting his time to building the Florida GOP into a viable statewide entity, especially with the incoming waves of affluent new residents from north of the Mason-Dixon line. Unfortunately, native Dixiecrats despised his stances on social issues, especially the elimination of poll taxes, a move which would have given the black community a chance to vote. Howey quickly became poison with right-wingers, despite being one of America's foremost fiscal conservatives. He ran for governor again in 1932, but was defeated in a rout.
The Great Depression hit Howey very hard, but not nearly as hard as many of his counterparts. Combined with the earlier land bust, his fortunes declined in marketing citrus or homes way from home. He did manage to sell a great deal of his holdings beforehand, however, and built a castle-like estate which stands to this day. While he never did go completely broke, he witnessed firsthand the life and death cycle of speculation, a cycle which would be repeated with disastrous results over seventy years later. Howey died of a heart attack on June 7, 1938, at the age of 62. He was interred in his family mausoleum, located on the grounds of his estate.
It is terribly unfortunate that, after his passing, his legacy was soon forgotten. Howey set the bar for citrus farming and sales, as well as for practical business ethics merged with an unyielding sense of character. As a cutting edge industrialist, he lived the American Dream with a passion. His political hallmark was founding the Southern Eisenhower-Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party. By anyone's standards, these are astounding feats. In the face of financial meltdown or crushing electoral defeat, while others would have become human chameleons, he refused to betray his conscience and in an always reasonable fashion stood strong for his principles.
Truly, America's contemporary economic and political arenas need more individuals like him. Howey was a credit to the nation, and deserves to be remembered as nothing less.