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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pheewwt ... Campbell's flat out of Senate race



Skipbanner2_2 Skip Campbell has finally pulled the plug on his state Senate campaign, ending a bid that worried the GOP mightily but fizzled out amid accusations from his own party that he was not taking it serious.

"The timing is not right for me on a bunch of different levels," Campbell, 59, told the Buzz, acknowledging recent hip surgery has played a large role. "A lot of people have been speculating and a lot of people have been saying stuff that's just not true. I'm not dying and I'm not having any major health problems."

Campbell, who already served Broward County in the Senate before being forced out by term limits, announced his candidacy in January. "This is our year. We will take back our country and take back our state," he said. Indeed, Democrats salivated at his prospects for taking out incumbent Sen. Jeff Atwater, the Senate President-designate.

But Campbell never made much of a splash and in recent weeks it was clear he was exiting the race before it really began. All the while, Atwater has been amassing a huge war chest. His campaign alone has raised more than $1-million since last fall. Campbell said he waited as long as he did to withdraw because party officials wanted him to wait until a viable replacement was named.

Enter Linda Bird, a Democratic activist in Broward County.

"She is going to be a fine candidate," Campbell said. "She is lady who has a purpose and that is to fix some of the problems republicans have created nationally and statewide. I believe the timing is perfect for a Democratic candidate."

Campbell dismissed the notion that his indecision hurt that prospect. "No one has been paying attention to this race," he said.

Is this it for Campbell and elective politics? "Someone once told me 'Never say never.' And I will never say never. If something came up I liked or felt I could be a help to the community, I certainly would look at it."

UPDATE: Atwater just put out this statement: "I wish Senator Campbell a full and complete recovery and all the best in his future endeavors. My focus remains on taking our campaign door-to-door across District 25 and asking the voters of Broward and Palm Beach Counties for the honor of serving as their State Senator."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:28am]


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