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Lawton's not walkin', he's just getting his furniture

Gov. Lawton Chiles, amid much laughter, said Monday he is not resigning.

A moving van outside the governor's mansion in Tallahassee apparently sparked rumors that were sweeping the town Monday.

Contacted at his mountain retreat in North Carolina, Chiles burst out laughing when told about the report.

"I take four days off in two years and a rumor like this starts," joked Chiles. "Can you tell me where I'm supposed to be going? I can't stand it. I am not resigning."

Julie Anbender, the governor's press secretary, said she got several calls Monday asking about the governor's plan to leave office. She thinks the rumor started after a moving van pulled up at the mansion to drop off some furniture that had been in a house in Gadsden County that Chiles recently sold.

Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay, contacted in Miami where he was attending a meeting, also discounted the rumor, saying Chiles has been in good spirits and looking forward to a few days off.

Chiles will return to Florida today after spending a few days at his house in the mountains, where he reported frost and highs around 60 degrees.

Elected in 1990 after he emerged from retirement to seek his party's nomination, Chiles, 62, has yet to announce whether he'll seek re-election in 1994. Friends say they expect he will run.