September 21, 2007

The Shoestring Campaign

That's right. Chiles spent $25.55 in travel expenses, $50 for qualifying and a $100 self donation. This report was for July, two months before the primary in September.

Dirt, dogs, doorbells, and lots of back-country roads...those were his ticket to victory in his first bid for state representative from Polk County in 1958.

No TV ads, no radio, no internet.

Just face-to-face grip and grin.

And some old-fashioned teamwork, with Lawton taking one side of the street and wife Rhea the other.

Rhea got bit by dogs four times! She also got her shoes stuck in wet asphalt, and almost left them there. She threw 'em away when she got home.

They would leave in the morning about 8AM and get back by sundown about 6PM.

Bud Chiles, 5 at the time, would answer the phone more often than not as head of the household--while his parents campaigned. "They've gone champagning," he would say.

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