Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bud Chiles to endorse Democrat Alex Sink for Florida governor

TALLAHASSEE — Saying he simply didn't have enough money to run a viable campaign, Lawton "Bud" Chiles abandoned his longshot independent bid for governor Wednesday and said he plans to endorse Democrat Alex Sink.

"I need to be able to look people in the face and really believe in my heart that this was a campaign I could win and really be viable," Chiles told the Times/Herald. "I just got to the point where it was difficult for me to do that."

Many Democratic activists had been encouraging Chiles — a lifelong Democrat before he dropped his party registration in June — to leave the race since he entered three months ago.

Chiles, 57, began telling friends and supporters of his decision Tuesday afternoon after a one-hour lunch with Sink at a Hilton hotel in Fort Lauderdale. He is expected to formally endorse Sink today at a news conference in Tallahassee.

"I kind of came away feeling like she would love to have me say those things just the way I'm saying them, only with her," Chiles said.

While campaigning Wednesday in Miami, Sink said little about Chiles' decision.

"We had a good meeting," she said. "Our conversation was more about the state of Florida, the economic situation, and the issues that he has publicly said he is most concerned about. We found a lot of common ground."

Chiles said Sink did not offer him a role in her administration, nor did he ask for one. Sink said it is "premature" to discuss that possibility.

Sink added that "it's hard to speculate" whether Chiles would have attracted votes from her because polls were mixed.

In a statement Wednesday, Republican nominee Rick Scott's campaign said, "We have always planned on a two-person race for governor."

Chiles' decision could leave some Republican voters in a lurch. After this summer's bruising $70 million campaign, many GOP voters came away disenchanted with Scott. Chiles said he received a bump of support from former supporters of Attorney General Bill McCollum, who lost the primary.

Former Congressman Bill Grant, an ex-Democrat from the Panhandle who considers himself a conservative Republican, supported Chiles and now has nowhere to turn: "I haven't sorted it out."

"I can't imagine that I would be supporting Alex Sink because of philosophical differences," Grant said. "But it's hard for me to imagine supporting Rick Scott because of what he said about my friend Bill McCollum."

Some pollsters picked up on the interesting dynamic left by Chiles' departure. A survey last week by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling showed a significant chunk of Chiles supporters voted for John McCain in 2008 and don't like President Barack Obama.

Sounds like they're reliable Republicans, right? Problem is, they also don't like Scott.

"Chiles was a landing spot for folks who didn't like Scott or the Democrats," wrote Tom Jensen, director of the polling firm. "My guess is it ends up being a wash and having no real effect on the race."

Before he is back out on the campaign trail — this time in support of a former rival — Chiles said his short-term plans are to take the next few days off and try to get over a nagging cold.

Miami Herald staff writer Beth Reinhard and Times/Herald staff writer Steve Bousquet contributed to this report. Lee Logan can be reached at llogan@sptimes.com or (850) 224-7263.

Bud Chiles to endorse Democrat Alex Sink for Florida governor 09/01/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 11:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn donates $1,000 to move Confederate monument

    Blogs

    TAMPA — The fundraising effort to remove a Confederate monument from downtown Tampa has tripled its haul since Hillsborough County commissioners tied the statue’s fate to the success of the campaign.

    A check from Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn for $1,000 to remove the Confederate monument from downtown Tampa.
  2. President Trump: Nation's culture being 'ripped apart' by Civil War statue removals

    National

    WASHINGTON — Showing his characteristic refusal to back down in the face of criticism, President Donald Trump deepened his defense of Confederate war memorials Thursday, sending out a series of messages on Twitter that adopted the language and arguments of white nationalists who have opposed their removal.

    President Donald Trump points to members of the media as he answers questions in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday. Republican leaders on Wednesday tiptoed around Trump's extraordinary comments on white supremacists.  [Associated Press]
  3. With election heating up, Bill Nelson floods Tampa Bay

    Blogs

    Sen. Bill Nelson seems to have set up a residency in Tampa Bay, a crucial area for his upcoming re-election campaign.

    Nelson campaigns with his wife in Orlando in 2012
  4. Martinez Middle School evacuated after bomb threat

    Crime

    LUTZ — Bob Martinez Middle School has been evacuated after someone called in a bomb threat, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

  5. Another local Confederate display sparks division, this one over name of the war

    News

    TAMPA — While the Hillsborough County commission was wrestling over the future of Confederate monument at the county courthouse, a lawsuit has been playing out in court over how best to represent the Civil War across town at Veterans Memorial Park.

    Veterans Memorial Park and Museum hosts displays marking America's wars and hosts ceremonies on special occasions, including  Pearl Harbor Day. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]