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Democrat Brian Moore Says He’ll Ask Bud Chiles to Join Ticket

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian P. Moore of Spring Hill said that he will ask Bud Chiles to be his running mate for lieutenant governor.

Moore, 67, is waging an uphill battle against Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in Tuesday’s primary.

“Chiles’ presence on the ticket would enormously enhance the party’s prospects in November,” said Moore. “I would be honored to have him on my ticket,” he continued, adding that “the Chiles family has long fought for ordinary Floridians — the struggling, forgotten families that now find themselves, largely through no fault of their own, victims of the current economic crisis caused by the avarice and greed of the bankers on Wall Street.”

Chiles, the son of the late ’Walkin’ Lawton’ Chiles, Florida’s immensely popular Democratic governor from 1991 until his death in December 1998, slipped on his 9 ½ walking shoes earlier this year and began canvassing the state as an independent candidate for governor, offering voters a choice outside the two major parties — a role in which Moore, a perennial independent and third-party candidate himself, is hardly unfamiliar.

Like Moore, Chiles realizes that Florida is a state in distress. “I'm running for governor to speak for a million Floridians who are out of work right now,” he told the Palm Beach Post shortly after embarking on his independent odyssey.

Chiles, who has refused to accept contributions larger than $250, had raised $97,336 as of August 19, the latest reporting period, and has been polling an astonishing 16-20 percent in recent polls — a showing that could wreak havoc on Democratic hopes of winning the governorship for the first time since 1994.

Moore, a political gadfly who once sought the presidency as the nominee of the Socialist Party of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, said that he plans to wait for the results on Tuesday night before formally asking Chiles to join him on the ticket.

“We have plenty of time" to approach him, asserted Moore, noting that a number of Democrats throughout the state have privately complained to him that Alex Sink might have acted a bit presumptuously in tapping conservative former state Sen. Rod Smith of Gainesville, a former prosecutor, as her running mate earlier this week before a majority of the voters have even gone to the polls.

“This is still a democracy — at least the last I heard — and the long-suffering voters in this recession-ravaged state have yet to have their say,” said Moore, who’s been waging an uncharacteristically low-key bid for the state‘s highest elective office.

“It might be wise to wait for their verdict,” he said.

Moore said he was baffled by Sink‘s “rush to judgment” in selecting a running mate earlier this week. “Despite her much-touted banking background, perhaps she thought Smith would change his mind once he realizes that she really doesn’t have a clue about ending the state’s twin fiscal and financial crises,” he quipped.

“Counting paperclips just isn’t going to cut it,” said Moore, a reference to one of Sink’s sillier cost-cutting measures. Moore has also been highly critical of his opponent’s role as a trustee of the State Board of Administration, the agency that manages hundreds of billions of dollars in public investments for hundreds of local governments and a million current and future state retirees.

The 62-year-old Sink, who’s spent little of her bulging $7.5 million war chest against her outspoken but little-known primary opponent, is the former president of Bank of America’s Florida operations.

“Florida has some very serious problems,” contends Moore. “A commercial banker is the last person we need to put in charge. I mean, weren’t the bankers the ones who got us into this catastrophic mess in the first place?”

Moore is pushing the idea of a state-owned bank, similar to the one proposed by Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, who waged a spectacular come-from-behind victory to capture the Democratic nomination for governor of Michigan earlier this month.

A publicly-owned bank, said Moore, could get credit flowing again to the state’s financially-strapped small and medium-sized businesses while creating thousands of new jobs for the more than 1.3 million Floridians currently out of work. “The large commercial banks just aren’t up to the task,” he said.

“The banking industry — the very place Alex Sink spent most of her career — is unable or unwilling to make the necessary loans to get Florida's economy moving again,” charged Moore.

The idea of a state-owned bank in Florida has long been championed by Farid A. Khavari of Miami, a University of Bremen-educated economist and author who spent most of the past year seeking the Democratic nomination for governor before deciding to run as an independent candidate shortly before the qualifying period.

Khavari, who’s quietly supporting Moore for the Democratic nomination, is one of seven independent and third-party candidates for governor, including Chiles, who will appear on the November ballot.

The concept of state-owned banks has also been vigorously promoted nationally by attorney Ellen H. Brown of Los Angeles, the best-selling author of the book Web of Debt, published in 2007.

Despite the long odds against him, Moore believes he can prevail on August 24. “I can win this thing”, he told Uncovered Politics. "This isn't some sort of symbolic protest candidacy as in the past. Floridians are hurting and they're hurting badly. They're looking for somebody who will fight for them for a change.”

If he manages to pull off an unexpected victory on Tuesday night, Moore said that he would contact Mr. Chiles first thing Wednesday morning. “But it probably won’t be until after I’ve had my coffee,” he joked.

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