Dawn Thompson drops out of race for House District 51
SEMINOLE -- Republican Dawn Thompson has pulled out of the race for state House District 51.
Thompson's departure eliminates the need for a primary and clears the way for a November battle between Democratic incumbent Janet Long and Republican challenger Larry Ahern.
"It's more or less a political decision," Thompson said Tuesday morning. She said she had been struggling with the decision for weeks.
The August primary and the November election come close together and that, coupled with the difficulty of fundraising during harsh economic times, influenced her decision. It's better for the Republican Party to not have to go through a primary, she said, and to have to immediately turn around to campaign for the general election.
Thompson, 42, said she had not been pressured to leave the race.
"It's purely my decision," she said.
Thompson said she has endorsed Ahern and plans to campaign for him, and fellow Republicans Marco Rubio and Bill McCollum in the upcoming elections. Rubio is running for the U.S. Senate and McCollum is running for governor.
District 51 includes the cities of Seminole and South Pasadena and portions of Pinellas Park, Largo and the unincorporated Lealman area.
-- Anne Lindberg, Times Staff Writer