Lawton chiles

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.

Fifty years ago today, a little-known state senator, Lawton Chiles, started a 1,000-mile walk across Florida. The trip - that earned him the nickname “Walkin’ Lawton” - would take him to the U.S. Capitol and later the governor's mansion in Tallahassee. This famous journey on Mar. 17, 1970 began north of Pensacola, in the small Town of Century.

Today, a sign reminds residents and visitors of the campaign trek that propelled Chiles into the U.S. Senate.