The general elections are Nov. 8, and sure enough, the race for Florida governor has become a noisy and bitter contest. Things got ugly last week when Gov. Lawton Chiles initiated smear tactics against challenger Jeb Bush, charging that he didn't vote in 1992, that he didn't pay business taxes and that he benefited from a taxpayer bailout of an S & L loan.
The Bush campaign managed to disprove the charges _ with the exception of some corporate filing fees _ and fired back this week. A new TV ad has Bush accusing Chiles of running a smear campaign, inflating the state payroll and planning to raise taxes.
We went to Hillsborough Community College, Dale Mabry Campus, to sample how the cacophony is affecting young voters. It is perhaps telling to note that only half the people surveyed had any opinion on the election. Here are the ones who did.
"I don't want Lawton Chiles. I haven't seen anything improved, actually. I would vote for (Jeb Bush), because he's new, and maybe he would change some things around."
Rania Abboudcq, 19, corporate law.
"It's not the fact that I want to see Lawton Chiles win, but it's choosing the best out of two bad candidates. The only reason the Bush guy is getting considered is because of his dad. He doesn't understand that a lot of people on welfare, there are a lot of them who just sit there and don't do anything, but a lot of them can't help it. He just needs to learn to relate to people who aren't as fortunate, because he's been fortunate all his life."
Jeff Bawlson, 21, engineering.
"I'm Republican and I go for all the issues he stands for. He's more for women. I know the majority of women think he's not. . . . He also goes for the death penalty, and I'm definitely for that."
Jill Shirley, 32, sonography
"I'm a Republican. I don't like the way our governor is taking care of things. There's a lot of crime and young violence, and I think Jeb Bush would do something about that."
Juan Carlos Lazaro, 24, athletic training