Back from a hunting trip in Georgia, Orlando Mayor Bill Frederick telephoned Lawton Chiles on Thursday to explain published reports that he wants to run for governor in 1994.
Frederick, who confirmed he would consider running if Chiles and Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay do not, said he felt bad about the timing of the publicity.
In the face of low ratings in public opinion polls, Chiles is trying desperately to peddle a plan to the Legislature to raise more than $1-billion in new taxes and fees.
"I had a nice talk with the governor today," Frederick said. "I told him I was embarrassed that this had worked against his very urgent agenda at this time, and he was very nice about it."
Frederick described his support for the Chiles-MacKay team as unconditional.
"There is no circumstance under which I would run against them," he said. "There is no hidden or secret little thing I would pull out later."
Discussion of his candidacy by longtime friends and supporters was the result of social conversations, Frederick said.
The term "right-sizing," he reminded, was born in his office. As a Chiles appointee, Frederick headed a task force that recommended ways to streamline Florida government.
However, Frederick doesn't rule out a challenge to his law school classmate, MacKay. "If the governor's office becomes vacant, then it's a subject that will have to be discussed," Frederick said.
"Buddy MacKay is a friend of mine, but he enjoys the presumption of my regard. There may be circumstances under which he (MacKay) may not run."
Chiles has said that he has not made up his mind whether to run again.