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Campaigning in Former Washington County Days

Submitted to The Heritage of Washington County, Florida by Heritage Book Committee
Burns Stands Tall
39 year old Kelly campaigns in a 41 year old Ford

In the days when Washington County was a predominately Democratic electorate, the Democratic Party scheduled political rallies in every community of the county for the candidates to present their search for votes, in both the first and second primary elections. The cost incurred in theses rallies were paid from fees paid by each candidate when he qualified for a particular office. 

Although those seeping state wide office were invited to speak at the local rallies, few, if any, were able to do that. Instead candidates seeking votes state wide would usually make a swing through the county, barnstorming the main towns and cities,, on a tour that would include several counties in a single day.

In 1966, two candidates for Governor of Florida did just that in a stop over in Chipley, speaking and appealing for votes.

Scott Kelly was challenging then Governor Haydon Burns, who was seeking reelection. Buddy Neel was Campaign Manager for the Scott Kelly campaign. A mammoth fish fry consisting of fried mullet and hush puppies, with all the trimmings, was consumed by a crows who had assembled at Chipley High School football field who welcomed Scott Kelly and listened to the speech of the gubernatorial candidate. Kelly was accompanied by his wife, Margie, and they entered the assembly in a 1925 Model "T" Ford owned by Robert Ellis of Graceville.

Riding in the antique car with the Kellys, were Dr. Rufus Thomas and Hugh Adams, campaign managers for Santa Rosa and Jackson counties respectively. 

On a different day, Governor Haydon Burns came to Chipley and did what his campaign motto said. Burns really appeared to stand teall as he spoke from the back of a pick up truck to a crowd in Chipley that assembled to hear the GOvernor speak. Incidentlly, he really does stand six feet and two inches-plus and in his socks! Governor Haydon Burns prevailed in the election and seved a second term as Governor of the State of FLorida.