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Enthusiasm Gone, Chiles to Leave Senate

December 07, 1987|United Press International

WASHINGTON — Sen. Lawton Chiles (D-Fla.), a three-term member of the Senate and chairman of the Budget Committee, announced today he will not seek reelection because he has lost the enthusiasm to serve in Congress.

"I wasn't looking forward to another six years in the Senate," Chiles told a Capitol Hill news conference.

The 57-year-old senator said he made his decision not to run during a recent visit to Florida when he spent time walking and talking to constituents.

"I didn't have the enthusiasm for it, and I think the people of Florida are entitled to that," he said. "It's time to move over and let someone who does have that enthusiasm take my place."

'In a State of Shock'

Chiles' announcement surprised both his staff and political observers. "We're in a state of shock," an aide to a House Democratic congressman said.

Chiles, who earned the nickname "walkin' Lawton" when he trekked 1,000 miles from one end of Florida to the other en route to an upset 1970 election victory over William Kramer, a former Republican congressman, faced no serious Democratic opposition.

However, Republican Rep. Connie Mack had announced plans to challenge Chiles next year.

Chiles' announcement makes him the third Democratic senator to decide against seeking another term next year. The two others are Sen. John Stennis of Mississippi and William Proxmire of Wisconsin.

Three Republican senators have also announced they will not run for reelection: Robert Stafford of Vermont, Daniel Evans of Washington and Paul Trible of Virginia.

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