Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Old friends and allies urge Bud Chiles to bow out of governor's race

TALLAHASSEE — Lawton "Bud" Chiles III has been an independent candidate for governor for only a few weeks, but some longtime friends and associates already are trying to persuade him to drop out.

The subtle pressure comes mostly from Democrats who fear that Chiles can't win and will siphon votes away from likely Democratic nominee Alex Sink.

"His only role in this campaign, if he continues it, would be to spoil the chances of another candidate," said Roy Miller, president of the Children's Campaign, an advocacy and watchdog group. "I don't see any possible way that Bud Chiles is going to win this race."

Some Florida Democrats compare Chiles to Ralph Nader, who in 2000 garnered 2.7 percent of the vote as a Green Party presidential candidate, effectively handing the election to George W. Bush over Democrat Al Gore.

Chiles dismisses the grumbling and says Democrats can't force him to drop his campaign.

"I've seen some comments by people that are insiders," Chiles said Tuesday, noting that most calls came before his June 3 campaign kickoff. "That's inside party baseball. A lot of people are looking for an alternative to this existing order that we have set up."

He added: "I'm trying to act on my convictions. If people can't respect that, there's not much that I can do about it."

Chiles' father, former Gov. Lawton Chiles, served two terms as governor in the '90s after three terms as a U.S. senator. The elder Chiles died in 1998, three weeks before his final term ended.

Children's advocate Jack Levine noted that Chiles' father also was a late entrant into the 1990 governor's race — but that was after 30 years of high-profile public service.

"What level of experience and expertise, other than your name, gives you the feeling that this is an office that you should aspire to?" Levine observed when asked about Bud Chiles. "If his name was Larry Charles instead of Lawton Chiles, we simply wouldn't be having this conversation."

The younger Chiles has built his campaign on the idea of cleaning up a corrupt political structure laden with special interest cash. In an irony lost on few political observers, Chiles might prove his point this election by raising little money and garnering only a few votes.

Public relations consultant Ron Sachs, a good friend of Bud Chiles', made that point last week in an opinion column published in the Tallahassee Democrat. Sachs, a former communications director for the late Gov. Chiles, said the campaign would be a "sad new chapter" in the Chiles legacy if it leads to a Republican victory in November.

"Bud Chiles is better positioned to become the Democratic Party's pariah," Sachs wrote.

Chiles has already qualified to be on the November ballot by submitting paperwork to the Division of Elections, along with a $5,200 check.

He has a few months, until early September, before his name appears on printed ballots. County election supervisors must begin sending absentee ballots to overseas military personnel by Sept. 18.

"If it looks like the only thing he's going to do is cost the Democrats a chance at the governor's seat, then there might be more contact around that time," said Rep. Ron Saunders, a Key West Democrat and longtime friend who served in the Legislature when Chiles' father was governor.

Staying in the race for the next few months, Saunders said, "gives him a chance to get out there and talk about things he wants to talk about."

Asked to speculate on why Chiles is going through with his campaign, Tallahassee lobbyist Sam Bell had one word: ego. A former Democratic lawmaker who is married to 2004 U.S. Senate candidate Betty Castor, Bell said Chiles' father probably would disapprove of his son's campaign.

"He would tell him to get out of the race, absolutely," Bell said. "Lawton was a good Democrat."

Lee Logan can be reached at llogan@sptimes.com or (850) 224-7263.

Old friends and allies urge Bud Chiles to bow out of governor's race 06/22/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 11:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Manslaughter charges eyed in deadly London fire sparked by refrigerator

    World

    LONDON — Manslaughter charges are among the offenses under consideration in the devastating Grenfell Tower blaze that killed 79 people, London police said Friday.

  2. PolitiFact: 6 questions about the Senate health care bill and transparency

    Perspective

    Now that a Senate health care bill has been unveiled, senators will be jousting over its provisions to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined by, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks following a closed-door strategy session, at the Capitol in Washington on June 20. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  3. Bicylist critically injured in crash involving SUV on Bayside Bridge

    Accidents

    A bicyclist was critically injured Friday morning when a driver drifted into his lane and struck him on the Bayside Bridge, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  4. Remnants of Cindy expected to drench Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia (w/video)

    Hurricanes

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Forecasters expect remnants of Tropical Depression Cindy to drench parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia Friday afternoon and evening, bringing heavy rainfall, possible flash flooding and higher river and lake levels through the weekend.

    Wth a rising tide, strong southerly winds from Tropical Depression Cindy lash the lakefront Thursday, June 22, 2017 in Mandeville, La. [David Grunfeld | NOLA.com The Times-Picayune via AP]
  5. North Korea denies torturing American detainee Otto Warmbier (w/video)

    World

    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Friday denied it cruelly treated or tortured an American student who was detained for more than year and died days after being released in a coma.

    Mourners line the street after the funeral of Otto Warmbier, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Wyoming, Ohio. Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, died this week, days after returning to the United States. [Associated Press]