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.