Jeb Bush's way open to contest Florida

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

TALLAHASSEE (Reuter) - The way was cleared yesterday for Jeb Bush, the son of the former president, George Bush, the former president, to run against Lawton Chiles, the incumbent, for the governorship of Florida, after his last Republican opponent announced that he would withdraw from the race.

Jim Smith , who was defeated by John Ellis 'Jeb' Bush in Thursday's Republican primary. , said: announced at a news conference he had decided not to take part in a runoff. 'Reality really hit home Friday morning, when he was at 46 (per cent) and I had fallen to 18,' Mr Smith said, referring to Mr Bush's margin of victory.

In the primary Mr Bush, who has never held elected office, eaily defeated three seasoned Republican opponents. Under Florida law, the top two Republican vote-getters candidates in Thursday's the primary faced a run-off because the winner failed to obtain a majority of votes cast. Three days after vowing to beat Bush, But Mr Smith, the secretary of state for Florida, now says he will step aside and campaign for him Mr Bush in his bid to recapture the governor's mansion for the Republican party. 'It's important now that we come together, now that we have a nominee in Jeb,' he said.

that we have a nominee in Jeb that will be strong in November, and that we not spend three weeks chewing each others' legs off so you can't walk,' Smith said.

'He's putting aside his ambitions for the principles we all believe in,' Bush said. 'It isn't easy. My respect for you was strong beforehand, and it's even stronger now.' Bush, 41, a conservative Miami real estate developer, said the unity displayed by Smith and others after his primary win boded ill for Chiles, a Democrat, who last week said he would welcome a vicious runoff between Bush and Smith.

The Bush campaign has raised an estimated dollars 4.6 million, much of it from outside Florida.