|42nd Governor of Florida|
December 12, 1998 – January 5, 1999
|Preceded by||Lawton Chiles|
|Succeeded by||Jeb Bush|
|14th Lieutenant Governor of Florida|
January 8, 1991 – December 12, 1998
|Preceded by||Bobby Brantley|
|Succeeded by||Frank Brogan|
|Presidential Special Envoy for the Americas|
|Preceded by||Mack McLarty|
|Succeeded by||Otto Reich|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's 6th district|
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1989
|Preceded by||Bill Young|
|Succeeded by||Cliff Stearns|
|Florida State Senator from 6th district|
January 3, 1975 – November 5, 1980
|Succeeded by||George Kirkpatrick|
|Born||Kenneth Hood MacKay, Jr.
March 22, 1933
|Spouse(s)||Anne Selph (m. 1960)|
|Service/branch||United States Air Force|
|Years of service||1955-1958|
Kenneth Hood "Buddy" MacKay, Jr. (born March 22, 1933) is an American politician and diplomat from Florida. A Democrat, he was briefly the 42nd Governor of Florida following the death of Lawton Chiles on December 12, 1998. During his long public service career he was also state legislator, U.S. Representative, Lt. Governor and later special envoy of President Bill Clinton's administration for the Americas.
As of 2014[update], he is the last Democrat to serve as Florida Governor, while Chiles remains the last Democrat elected to that office.
Early life and career
MacKay was born to a citrus-farming family in Ocala, Florida. He served in the United States Air Force during the 1950s, and then attended the University of Florida, where he was tapped in to Florida Blue Key and eventually received a law degree. MacKay was inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame (the most prestigious honor a student can receive from UF). He married Anne Selph in 1960; the couple has four sons.
MacKay was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1968, and to the Florida Senate in 1975. From 1983 to 1989 he served for three terms in the United States House of Representatives, where he made controlling the national budget one of his main concerns. In 1988 he received the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate, but lost in a very close race for that office to Connie Mack III.
Lieutenant Governor and gubernatorial candidate
MacKay won the 1990 Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor on the ticket headed by former Senator Lawton Chiles. They won the election and were re-elected in 1994.
As Lieutenant Governor, MacKay was given many duties and played a very important role in Chiles' cabinet, including being co-chair of the Florida Commission on Education, Reform and Accountability. He was regarded as the most significant and powerful lieutenant governor in Florida's history.
MacKay was a strong supporter of use of capital punishment, as Chiles was. When he was asked during gubernatorial election about his positions on use the death penalty and electric chair in Florida, he replied: I support the death penalty and support the use of the electric chair so long as it operates in a reliable fashion. However he suggested Florida should change its mode of execution after Pedro Medina's botched execution, said: The last thing we want to do is generate sympathy for these killers.
In 1998 MacKay sought to succeed term-limited Chiles as Governor, easily winning the Democratic nomination with his full support (Chiles and MacKay were known for their friendly relationship). He was soundly defeated by Republican nominee Jeb Bush.
Despite defeat, MacKay became Chiles' successor when Chiles died unexpectedly on December 12, 1998. MacKay was at this time in Boston with his wife. When they returned to their hotel room, they found a message about Chiles' death, asking MacKay to get on a plane to Atlanta, where they were picked up by a state crew and flown through thick fog to Tallahassee. At 12.30 a.m. the next day 65-year old MacKay was sworn-in as Florida's 42nd Governor at his capitol office for the 23 days remaining in Chiles' term.
"There's no great pleasure in this" said MacKay about taking a job he sought, but got for a short time after his political partner's death. He also stated how sorry he was that he would be unable because of short time and lack of mandate to take care on such issues as education and health care.
Despite keeping a low public profile during his time as Governor, MacKay has made more than 56 appointments to various boards to various offices, including two judgeships. He granted six pardons to female prisoners and has been involved in such issues as negotiation plan for the Everglades and moderated some other disputes. Perhaps his most visible act as Governor was signing Peggy Quince's nomination to the Florida Supreme Court. Quince was Chiles' last pick for the bench and it fell to MacKay, and then Bush, to sustain her nomination.
MacKay was succeeded by Bush on January 5, 1999.
Diplomacy and later life
After his governorship ended, MacKay retired from active politics. He, however, remains publicly active.
He was appointed by President Clinton a special envoy for the Americas, being the second person to hold this position. During his tenure he traveled to 26 countries in the Americas, working on issues such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), hemispheric security, strengthening the rule of law, labor standards, environmental policies and human rights.
He attended a symposium “Day with Florida Governors”, organized by University of Central Florida and Louis Frey institute on March 27, 2006 with Governor Bush and former Governors Claude Roy Kirk, Jr., Reubin Askew, Bob Graham and Bob Martinez (Wayne Mixson, who served for three days after Graham's resignation wasn’t present at the event).
MacKay's memoir about his political career, How Florida Happened, was published by the University Press of Florida in March 2010.
Florida Senate, 6th district (1974)
- Buddy MacKay (D) - 26,418 (75.32%)
- Charles E. Curtus (R) - 8,655 (24.68%)
Florida Senate, 6th district (1978)
- Buddy MacKay (D, Inc.) - elected unopposed
Florida United States Senate election, 1980 (Democratic primary)
- Richard Stone (Inc.) - 355,287 (32.08%)
- Bill Gunter - 335,859 (30.33%)
- Buddy MacKay - 272,538 (24.61%)
- Richard A. Pettigrew - 108,154 (9.77%)
- James L. Miller - 18,118 (1.64%)
- John B. Coffey - 17,410 (1.57%)
Florida's 6th congressional district, 1982
- Buddy MacKay (D) - 85,825 (61.35%)
- Ed Havill (R) - 54,059 (38.65%)
Florida's 6th congressional district, 1984
- Buddy MacKay (D, Inc.) - 167,409 (99.30%)
- Eric Tarnley (write-in) - 1,174 (0.70%)
Florida's 6th congressional district, 1986
- Buddy MacKay (D, Inc.) - 143,598 (70.16%)
- Larry Gallagher (R) - 61,069 (29.84%)
Florida United States Senate election, 1988 (Democratic primary)
- Bill Gunter - 383,721 (38.00%)
- Buddy MacKay - 263,946 (26.14%)
- Dan Mica - 179,524 (17.78%)
- Pat Frank - 119,277 (11.81%)
- Claude Roy Kirk, Jr. - 51,387 (5.09%)
- Fred Rader - 11,820 (1.17%)
Florida United States Senate election, 1988 (Democratic runoff)
- Buddy MacKay - 369,266 (52.00%)
- Bill Gunter - 340,918 (48.00%)
Florida United States Senate election, 1988
- Connie Mack III (R) - 2,051,071 (50.42%)
- Buddy MacKay (D) - 2,016,553 (49.57%)
- Adam Straus (write-in) - 585 (0.01%)
Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor, 1990
- Buddy MacKay - 746,325 (69.49%)
- Tom Gustafson - 327,731 (30.51%)
- Lawton Chiles/Buddy MacKay (D) - 1,995,206 (56.51%)
- Bob Martinez/J. Allison DeFoor (R) - 1,535,068 (43.48%)
Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor, 1994
- Buddy MacKay (Inc.) - 603,657 (72.17%)
- James H. King - 232,757 (27.83%)
- Lawton Chiles/Buddy MacKay (D, Inc.) - 2,135,008 (50.75%)
- Jeb Bush/Tom Feeney (R) - 2,071,068 (49.23%)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Buddy MacKay.|
- Official Governor's portrait and biography from the State of Florida
- Profile in Notable Name Database (NNDB)
- MacKay's biography from Lawton Chiles Foundation website
- Biography from Congressional Bioguide
- Governor MacKay statement after Chiles' death
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 6th congressional district
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1989
|Lieutenant Governor of Florida
January 8, 1991–December 12, 1998
|Governor of Florida
December 12, 1998–January 5, 1999
|Presidential Special Envoy for the Americas
|Party political offices|
|Democratic Party nominee for United States Senator from Florida
|Democratic Party nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Florida
1990 (won), 1994 (won)
|Democratic Party nominee for Governor of Florida