The Washington Times - September 2, 2010, 12:53PM

Lawton “Bud” Chiles III, an independent candidate for Florida governor, dropped out of the race Thursday and endorsed Democratic nominee Alex Sink. 

Chile’s announcement ended days of speculation that he would back out of the race after polls showed him with only marginal support against Sink, the state’s chief financial officer, and Republican nominee Rick Scott.

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Chiles cited Sink’s promise for political reform in the state capital and their “shared priorities” on issues such as education and new energy as reasons for his support.

“Alex is a friend, a proven leader and a person of great integrity,” Chiles said. “She served the people of Florida long before she ever asked them to elect her. And she has convinced me that she shares my commitment to cleaning up Tallahassee and making government work for the people.”

Chiles’ late father was a popular Democratic Florida governor and U.S. senator.

“I’m pleased to have Bud’s endorsement and look forward to working with him on the issues we both care so much about and holding the special interests accountable,” Sink said.

A Rasmussen Reports survey conducted Wednesday showed Scott with a 1-percentage point lead over Sink. Nine percent of the poll’s respondents said they back “some other candidate,” while 2 percent said they weren’t sure who they will support.