Independent Candidate Joins FL Governor’s Race

Chiles to run for Fla. governor. That's Lawton Chiles III, son of the legendary walkin' governor. And he's running as an independent, making it a three-way race.

Lawton Chiles III announced Thursday he would run for governor of Florida as an independent, setting up a potential three-way race in November.

Chiles, the son of the former Democratic governor and senator of the same name, told reporters in Tallahassee that he would accept only small contributions and that he would not take funds from political action committees.

Chiles ran in 2006 as a Democrat…and had to withdraw because he had not lived in Florida long enough to meet the state law residency requirement.

I suppose the idea behind this run as an independent is to squeeze the Democratic vote and add in what there is of the sensible Republican vote and hope it makes the biggest pile.

Or is the plan to ride on Crist's coattails? Will there be coattails?

So, what does Chiles stand for? Children, it seems. Hard to find much else so far.

Even so, the Florida Governor's race could use some livening up, as it currently seems likely to feature two unexciting candidates, Sink and McCollum. Neither has their party's nomination yet, however, and both are being challenged in primaries by somewhat weird multi-millionaires. And on the Republican side, Rick Scott (the less sleazy and more extreme of the two millionaires) is making enough gains thanks to a bottomless-pocket self-financed TV ad campaign that McCollum must be sweating.

So maybe that's the Chiles strategy (if there is one): if Rick Scott wins the GOP nomination, there could be more than a few Republicans looking for an alternative and their number could be added to Democrats unenthusiastic about Sink. Whether a former Democrat could provide an alternative Republicans would swallow is unclear, but this is a weird state and a weird year. Plus the Chiles brand has some nostalgia value in Florida.

On the other hand, Democratic concerns about Sink are either that she's dull, or that she's too right-wing; running to her left won't pick up any Republicans; running to her right won't pick up many Democrats as there isn't that far to her right among the Democratic party mainstream. There are, though, all those independents, and in a three-way race it takes less to win….

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