Lawton Chiles III to run for governor
Lawton M. “Bud” Chiles III officially announced June 3 that he is an independent candidate for governor in the 2010 general election.
The 57-year-old Chiles, a Tallahassee businessman, was widely expected to make the announcement, having devoted the past year to walking more than 300 miles in the Sunshine State to talk with its citizens.
The frontrunner for the Democratic nomination is Florida CFO Alex Sink.
The frontrunner for the Republican nomination is Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum.
Bud Chiles is the son of the late Gov. Lawton Chiles II, who in 1970 embarked upon the 91-day walk from Pensacola to Key West that earned him the nickname “Walkin’ Lawton,” and former First Lady of Florida Rhea Chiles, who lives in Holmes Beach and owns the Studio at Gulf and Pine in Anna Maria. Bud Chiles’ brother is Ed Chiles, owner of the Chiles Group restaurants on the Island and Longboat Key and a resident of Anna Maria.
“I admire his courage and commitment,” Rhea Chiles said of her son’s decision to enter the race.
Ed Chiles said, “My brother is extremely concerned about the serious issues that our state faces. He has a passion for public service that he has exhibited throughout his life. Like many of us, he is very concerned about our political system, which favors those who fund huge campaign budgets, while failing the ordinary citizens that our public officials are sworn to serve.”
Bud Chiles had planned to run for governor in 2006, but had to drop out of the race because of a provision in the state constitution requiring residency for seven years prior to the campaign.
Until recently Bud Chiles was president of the Lawton Chiles Foundation. He resigned to campaign for governor.
“I’m running for governor to speak for a million Floridians who are out of work right now,” he said. “I’m running to help nearly a million children who have no health care — and for the millions of people who, like me, believe Florida can and must do better by its families and communities.”
The candidate pledged to refuse party money. He also said he would refuse donations from political action committees and companies, as well as limit individual contributions to $250 per person.
“Bud is betting that his message of people over money will resound with average citizens,” said Ed Chiles. “If he is successful, he will be beholden to no one, except the citizens of this state. I think that would be quite refreshing.”