McCollum ad: Scott put profit over principle
Charlie Crist and the Demublicans

Where are the campaigns with imagination?

Chiles-walkingalone 1970 It really is kind of a sad year for campaign gimmicks. All the Democrats mimic each other. All the Republicans mimic each other.

Even rich guys spending their own money is nothing new.

So far, there is a complete lack of originality among Florida's statewide candidates. Even Bud Chiles' "walk" in parts of the state is pale comparision to his dad - the late Gov. Lawton Chiles - who in 1970 walked from the Panhandle town of Century to Key Largo. Now that's a walk.

And it landed Lawton Chiles in the U.S. Senate. Bud wants to be the new "no party" governor with a more leisurely stroll.

Eight years after Lawton's walk, a young Miami Lakes state senator decided he wanted to be governor. Not a lot of voters knew that Bob Graham was rich or that his family owned extensive property in Florida and other states. They even owned - and still do - the Washington Post. Bob Graham workdays 1979 barber

Graham turned himself into a working stiff by working - and he really did - 100 different jobs. Or as the campaign said "working for governor.'

That's Graham playing  barber. He kept doing work days during two terms as governor and three terms as a U.S. Senator.

And then in 1986, another Democratic candidate for governor decided the best way to win would be to ride a horse throughout the state.

Frank Mann, a Fort Myers Democrat and one of the state's better if little known senators, decided in 1986 he wanted to be the Democratic nominee for governor.

Bob martinez, frank mann, dempsey barron NWFla rodeo bonifay

 He acknowledged he was a longshot and would have to do something very different to capture the imagination of the media and voters.

So he rode his horse.

In this picture Mann, in the center, is riding his horse in a parade in the Panhandle town of Bonifay. The guy on the left, Bob Martinez, did not campaign on a horse (this event being the exception) but the Republican did win and was governor for one term. The rider on the right is the late Dempsey Barron who ruled the Florida Senate with a steel fist for two decades.

Maybe some of the candidates in trouble today need a good gimmick.



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Rep. Kendrick Meek is the first statewide candidate to qualify by petition. This was an enormous achievement that few people have paid attention to.

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