Friday, June 4, 2010

Democratic Florida gubernatorial defeat insured

Lawton "Bud" Chiles III, son of the late governor, announced Thursday that he plans to run for governor as an independent candidate.

A lifelong Democrat, Chiles is poised to test the theory that 2010 is the Year of the Outsider. Another high-profile candidate, Gov. Charlie Crist, recently left his party to run as an independent in the U.S. Senate race.

The move gives Chiles additional time to raise money and build name recognition for November's race between candidates from the two major parties. In opting out of the Democratic primary, he skipped a one-on-one battle with Alex Sink, the front-runner for the nomination who has raised $6.1 million.

"The two parties are not the solution," he said. "They're caught up in this high-stakes game that pits big money against big money and leaves ordinary Floridians on the sidelines."

Chiles said he made his decision after he met with Sink and she told him she plans to raise $30 million on the race. Democrats likely won't be pleased with Chiles' move, as it could set him up as a spoiler who would draw votes from Sink.

Sink is a nobody, the wife of a failed Democratic gubernatorial candidate (Bill McBride). Sink rode McBride's organization and donor list into a cabinet position with no prior electoral experience. She relies completely on party line voters. Her "qualifications" for the cabinet job was a banking background that is toxic in today's political environment. Sink couldn't even excite the crowds gathered at the state Democratic convention.

On the other hand, Chiles father was a beloved U.S. senator and two term governor. Chiles could win on the strength of his name in a 3 or 4 person race. At the worst for Chiles, Chiles will draw off enough Democratic votes to defeat Sink (which is apparently his secondary goal).

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