Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Independent Bud Chiles expected to drop out of governor's race

TALLAHASSEE — In a sign of relief for Democrats, Lawton "Bud" Chiles III is expected to announce today that he is abandoning his independent bid for governor.

His departure would make it a two-way race between Democrat Alex Sink and Republican Rick Scott — a contest in which Chiles, a former Democrat, was expected to play spoiler.

Chiles, son of the popular late governor, met Sink on Tuesday for lunch and later began calling supporters.

"I certainly encouraged it," said Dick Batchelor, a former Orlando lawmaker who, like Chiles, advocates for children's issues. "Alex Sink definitely has a great chance to win if Bud is withdrawing. I think she will carry the banner Bud's been carrying."

Other friends noted that Chiles brought up worthy ideas during his campaign.

"He's in there for a reason, he has some issues he wants to talk about," said state Rep. Ron Saunders, D-Key West, a longtime friend. "But it looks like all he would do is primarily draw votes away from Alex Sink, and knowing him, he didn't want to do that."

Chiles, 57, is expected to make a formal announcement today.

Launching his campaign three months ago, initial poll numbers showed him garnering a significant chunk of voters from across the political spectrum. But recent polls show his support eroding to single digits.

A week ago, Chiles told reporters he wasn't in the race "to create a situation where Rick Scott becomes governor." Many Sink supporters had compared Chiles with Ralph Nader, the 2000 presidential candidate who siphoned votes away from Democrat Al Gore and helped Republican George W. Bush get elected.

The timing of the announcement would mean Chiles' name won't appear on any ballots. At the end of the week, county election officials can begin printing the first batch of ballots, primarily for overseas voters.

Several top supporters said they worried Chiles might get out of the race. "I was afraid it was not looking good for him," said Dale Fuller, head of the Tallahassee Builders Association, who supported Chiles personally and not in her official role.

"He does have some good policies that I would hope that some other candidates would pay attention to."

It was unclear Tuesday if Chiles would endorse Sink's campaign. He has been deeply critical of Scott, however, both because he spent more than $50 million of his personal wealth in the Republican primary and for what Chiles considers extreme views on budgetary matters.

Chiles has said his key motivation for entering the race was to clean up the influence of special interests. By limiting donations to $250 and refusing money from political groups, he offered himself as a contrast to opponents who were planning to spend millions in TV ads.

Campaign finance records show Chiles raised and spent about $100,000 — well short of the threshold required to accept public financing.

Because Florida campaigns can be expensive because of the state's 10 media markets, he had been unable to get his message to a mass audience through television or radio.

Chiles made renewable energy a key platform in his campaign, holding several meetings with local environmental leaders. During one such event in Tallahassee a couple of weeks ago, Chiles sat with a handful of activists, lamenting why Florida isn't producing more renewable energy.

Chiles placed most of the blame on the Legislature, which he said should adopt a minimum statewide standard for renewables over the next decade. He also called for incentives that would allow power companies to make money when people conserve energy.

Lee Logan can be reached at or (850) 224-7263.

Independent Bud Chiles expected to drop out of governor's race 08/31/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 11:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals


    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates


    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears


    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'


    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]