Bud Chiles, an independent candidate for Florida governor and the son of former Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles, now says he may drop out of the race in the coming months if his candidacy isn’t “viable,” a move which would strike a blow to Republican Rick Scott.
Here’s what Chiles told reporters today, according to the St. Petersburg Times:
‘I’ll say this till the end: I’m not in this race to create a situation where Rick Scott becomes governor,’ Chiles told reporters on Thursday. ‘I believe every day, and I think what happened in the (Republican) primary is a very strong indication that I have a very viable candidacy. As long as my candidacy is viable, then, if I’m sending the message that Floridians want to hear, I’m going to keep doing that. And if, at some point, I feel that it’s not viable then we can have another discussion about it.’
The benefactor of this scenario would likely be Democrat Alex Sink. According to this morning’s Rasmussen poll, Rick Scott leads Sink 41 to 36 with Chiles taking 8 percent of the vote.
Rasmussen’s crosstabs aren’t public, but an Aug. 19 poll from Quinnipiac shows Chiles winning support from 16 percent of independents, 13 percent of Democrats and only 7 percent of Republicans.
Chiles’s statement indicates that he would most likely endorse Sink as well, giving his independent supporters another reason to move leftward. Add a portion of his 8 percent to Sink’s 36 percent, and suddenly the race is a lot tighter.