Lawton "Bud" Chiles III, the 57-year-old son of the late governor, is seriously looking at running against Democrat Alex Sink for governor. He has been talking to friends and family across the state.
"He's got some very strong convictions and a yearning for a Florida that was simpler and more about solving its problems than what we see today,'' said his wife, Kitty Chiles.
A Tallahassee resident, Chiles has been walking across Florida promoting children's issues, vocally and bluntly criticizing Florida's leadership and the direction the state is heading.
"If I had to put odds on it, I'd put it at 80/20 that he's likely to be a candidate for governor in 2010,'' said Ron Sachs, who used to work for Gov. Chiles.
Mrs. Chiles said a decision would come "pretty quick....the family is talking. That's where we are right now. a lot of this is as a result of the encouragement he's gotten over the past year as part of Worst to First."
Asked about how he could compete against Democratic frontrunner Alex Sink's financial advantage, Mrs. Chiles said, "we sort of see that as a plus. ... We see the big money as a huge part of the problem, and a lot of other people do too."
Chiles would be a serious underdog. But a Chiles suddenly shook up Florida's political landscape in 1970 and again in 1990. Maybe every 20 years, Florida wants to wrap her arms around a Chiles.
-- ADAM C. SMITH