Florida gubernatorial election, 1990

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Florida gubernatorial election, 1990
1986 ←
November 6, 1990
→ 1994

  SenatorChiles.jpg Bobmartinez.jpg
Nominee Lawton Chiles Bob Martinez (inc.)
Party Democratic Republican
Running mate Buddy MacKay J. Allison DeFoor
Popular vote 1,995,206 1,535,068
Percentage 56.51% 43.48%

Governor before election

Bob Martinez

Elected Governor

Lawton Chiles

The Florida gubernatorial election of 1990 took place on November 6.


Republican incumbent Bob Martinez, who was just a second member of his party elected Governor of Florida after Reconstruction, was deeply unpopular. His job approval rating had sunk to around 24% after, in 1989, he called the Florida Legislature into special session in an effort to pass pro-life laws. None of the governor's proposals made it out of committee.

Republican primary[edit]

Republican primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bob Martinez 460,718 69.00%
Republican Marlene Woodson Howard 132,565 19.80%
Republican John Davis 34,720 5.20%
Republican Andy Martin 28,591 4.30%
Republican Warren H. Folks 11,587 1.70%
Totals 668,181 100%

Democratic primary[edit]

The Democratic primary was a contest between former United States Senator Lawton Chiles and United States Representative Bill Nelson.

The 60-year old Chiles, who retired after three terms from the Senate in 1989 after serious health problems, was challenged by the younger 47-year old Nelson, who questioned his health in the campaign and presented himself as alternative.

This, however, backfired on Nelson and cost him the election; the elderly population in Florida took great offense to Nelson's attacks and, in turn, voted for Chiles.[2]

Democratic primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Lawton Chiles 746,325 69.5%
Democratic Bill Nelson 327,731 30.5%
Totals 1,074,056 100%

Campaign finances[edit]

  • Chiles/MacKay - $5,244,170.00.[4]
  • Martinez/DeFoor - $10,625,793.00.[5]

General election[edit]

Florida gubernatorial election, 1990[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Lawton Chiles 1,995,206 56.51 +11.07
Republican Bob Martinez 1,535,068 43.48 -11.09
Write-ins 597 0.0 0
Majority 460,138 13.03 +3.91
Turnout 3,530,871
Democratic gain from Republican Swing