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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Paula Dockery drops out of Florida governor's race

Pd In the wake of a new statewide poll showing her at 3 percent, Republican state Sen. Paula Dockery of Lakeland announced Monday she's dropping out of the race for governor, which will leave a two-man competition between Attorney General Bill McCollum and health care executive Rick Scott for the GOP nomination.

"It is with mixed feelings that I end my campaign to be your next governor," Dockery said in a statement. "People who know me know I'm a tenacious fighter unafraid of long odds, especially when the stakes are so high. But I'm also a realist and understand the costs of effectively competing statewide. At this point in the election cycle, I see no financial path to victory." 

Scott's decision to spend millions of dollars of his own money to power an outsider TV message -- and his 22 -percent showing in that same poll -- simply pulled the rug out from under Dockery. 

Dockery, 48, a feisty and well-informed but underfinanced candidate, entered the race six months ago with a message of reform and an emphasis on cleaning up the sordid mess at the Republican Party and breaking up the culture of back-room dealing in Tallahassee. She is eligible to stay in the Senate through 2012.

Her farewell statement had a bittersweet tone to it, and one of appreciation for all the people she met along the way. "Our reform message resonated well with the thousands of people we reached and I am grateful and humbled by the outpouring of enthusiasm, encouragement and support I received as I logged thousands of miles on the white Ford Explorer."

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:39am]

    

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