Ft. Myers, FL – In the upcoming November race for Governor of Florida, many people believed their only options were Republican Rick Scott or Democrat Alex Sink. But for just a moment, there was another choice, and that is Lawton “Bud” Chiles III, who recently decided to join the fray as an Independent. Tuesday night, August 31st, however, news leaked out that Lawton “Bud” Chiles III was bowing out almost as soon as he’d entered.
Anyone who has lived long in Florida will remember Lawton Chiles, Jr., Florida’s Governor from 1991 to 1998. Previously Lawton Chiles, Jr. had served in the Florida House of Representatives, Florida State Senate and the United States Senate, but he was most famous for walking 1,003 miles from Pensacola to Key West, earning him the nickname “Walkin’ Lawton.” He died of a heart attack at the end of four decades of serving Florida as a moderate Democrat. So what does his son, Lawton “Bud” Chiles III have to offer?
For the past decade, Lawton Chiles III has been running Hope Worldwide, an international charity sponsored by International Churches of Christ to provide health care to the poor and immunizations to children around the world. Lately Mr Chiles III has been almost literally following in his father’s footsteps, walking across Florida talking about children’s issues.
Originally Lawton Chiles III considered running as a Democrat against Alex Sink in the primary, but the 57 year old changed his mind about that in favor of running as an Independent. He has no real money, but his wife Kitty sees that as a positive. “We see the big money as a huge part of the problem, and a lot of other people do too.” said Mrs. Chiles, when asked how he could compete with the huge finances the other candidates have access to.
Lawton “Bud” Chiles III is definitely an underdog – but so was his father when he won. A lot of Republicans are wary of Rick Scott because of his previous involvement with the health care fraud scandal when he was running Columbia/HCA. Alex Sink’s affiliation with banking could hurt her in today’s climate of distrust of the big banks and businesses. With all the talk of “throwing the bums out” and the Tea Party protests, this could be the year for an Independent son of an independent former Governor to win. It would have been interesting to see if Florida would once again welcome a Lawton Chiles to lead Florida forward. But now that Lawton “Bud” Chiles III has decided that he doesn’t have a viable chance, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It was nice to be able to dream of real choice in the Governor’s race for Florida, if only for a moment.
Miami New Times Blog, Lawton “Bud” Chiles II to Run for Governor as Independent, Kyle Munzenrieder
Hope Worldwide, Newsletter
World Lingo, Lawton Chiles, Multilingual Archive
The Miami Herald Blog, Son of Governor Chiles May Take on Sink, Adam C. Smith
Wikipedia, Rick Scott
The News-Press, Bud Chiles to drop out of gubernatorial race, Jim Ash