McManus on Dockery's possible entry into the governor's race

05/26/09 Mitch E. Perry
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The St. Petersburg Times reported today that Lakeland Rep. Paula Dockery is considering a run for the Republican nomination for governor next year.

In a press release, Dockery says that her future intentions have been on running for the District 12 Congressional seat that is open with Adam Putnam stepping down to run for Agriculture Commissioner.

But she writes, “I have been surprised and flattered by numerous e-mails, phone calls and letters encouraging me to run. It's become very apparent that many Republicans want another choice in the governor's race by the interesting inquiries that I've been getting from people I respect in the process, and, more importantly, from voters along the I-4 corridor who were following the legislative session, many of whom I don't know. “

"I am considering the governor's race as well as the congressional race."

Susan McManus is a political science professor at the University of South Florida Tampa campus.

Although there is still a year and a half before Floridians will vote for their next governor, U.S. senator and other cabinet positions, the leading contenders for the GOP right now in all those races are white males over 50 years of age, with the exception of Polk County’s Adam Putnam.

On the Democratic Party side, top candidates include an African-American and woman, with others still possibly to enter.

McManus says if Dockery were to run for governor, she would definitely bring something different to the table for state Republicans.

Last week, Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson dropped out of the race for governor, due to intense pressure applied by state Party Chair Jim Greer. But Greer’s attempt to get county parties to line up behind Charlie Crist for Senate over Marco Rubio were considered heavy handed, and Greer now says that any party can support whomever they like in that race.

Dockery doesn’t appear to be intimidated by Greer’s hopes for uncontested primaries.

Professor Susan McManus says there’s one strong reason why neither Greer nor Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman are interested in having contested primary elections - money.

Dockery has been in the state Legislature since 1996 – originally elected to the House that year, she moved on to the Senate in 2002.

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