I wouldn’t quite say, “Congratulations, Governor-elect Bill McCollum,” but this news makes it much more likely that the GOP frontrunner will emerge victorious on the fall:
Lawton “Bud” Chiles III, the 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 . . .
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 candidate who would draw votes from Sink.
On paper, Chiles and Sink split the center-left vote and McCollum (or perhaps Rick Scott) emerges with the largest plurality. Of course, there’s a reason they actually have elections and don’t just do things on paper.
This is the year of the Florida three-way, with this development and the Senate race, a contest among Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist, and Kendrick Meek.