Bob Graham

In June 1970, Lawton Chiles was completing a 1,000-mile walk across Florida. The trek earned Chiles the nickname “Walkin’ Lawton” and helped him win a seat in the U.S. Senate.

The next installment in our 50th anniversary series reviews Chiles’ walk as a campaign strategy and its impact on Florida politics.

“Back in 1970, Lawton was a little-known state senator from Lakeland and did not have a huge campaign war chest,” said Ron Sachs, CEO of Sachs Media Group in Tallahassee and former communications director for Lawton Chiles when he was governor.

Florida Memory

Fifty-years ago this month, former Gov. Lawton Chiles wrapped up his 1,000-mile walk across Florida. At the time, he was a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat.

As part of our 50th anniversary series, we’re taking some time to review “Walkin’ Lawton’s” political legacy, as one of the last Democratic political leaders in a state now controlled by Republicans.

U.S. Senate

As newly-elected officials begin their transitions to their new jobs, Rick Scott will delay his swearing-in at the U.S. Senate to finish his term as Florida’s Governor.

Scott will not follow in Bob Graham’s footsteps. Graham was the last person to move from the Florida governor's mansion to the U.S. Senate. He stepped down from his perch in Tallahassee on January 3, 1987 and was sworn into the Senate the same day.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham visited Pensacola on Tuesday, making appearances at the University of West Florida and downtown.

Graham’s first stop was at UWF’s Conference Center, as the main speaker at the inaugural Seligman First Amendment Lecture Series, to deliver a presentation on the “Art of Public Dialogue."

“Democracy was never intended to be passive,” said Graham. “From the very beginning democracy – government by the people – was designed to be a government that emphasized citizen involvement.”

With Governor Rick Scott termed out of office in 2018, there’s beginning to be a lot of jockeying for position in both parties for that race.

Two aspirants, each from high-profile Florida families, announced their intentions this week. Republican Adam Putnam currently is Agriculture Commissioner.

“It has been an honor to serve my community, to serve my friends and neighbors, to serve my state, and to serve my nation,” said Putnam at a rally in his hometown of Bartow. “But make no mistake; for me, it’s always been ‘Florida first.’ And it’s why I am running for governor.”