November 3, 2009 | 12:28pm
After a few months of publicly flirting with the idea, Republican State Senator Paula Dockery of Lakeland officially announced today that she will run for Governor, and challenge Attorney General Bill McCollum in the Republican Primary.
So, who is this lady and why is she doing it?
She says she's had constitutents practically begging her to run to "offer voters the opportunity to have a different choice."
The fact that she has a very rich husband doesn't hurt either. Hubby C.C. "Doc" Dockery spent nearly $3 million of his own money to champion 2000's successful constitutional amendment that required the state to build a high speed rail system. Jeb Bush urged a repeal of the amendment in 2004 that was successful, and the Tampa Tribune says
Dockery spent nearly $800 million to fight it (which we can't fathom nor verify)
$800,000 (since fixed Trib typo, apparently). Paula Dockery then played a major part in blocking this year's SunRail plan.
Is there a Rubio-Crist dynamic?
Well, Dockery has her conservative bonafides: NRA members, pro-life, anti-tax. So, I wouldn't be surprised if she associates herself with the grass roots conservative movement, and try to syphon of a bit of Rubio's underdog-vs-establishment success should her campaign last more than a few months
However, McCollum is pretty conservative himself, and Jeb Bush just endorsed him today, noting that "we need a chief executive who will meet our challenges head on and stay true to the core conservative principles of limited government, fiscal discipline and the protection of liberty tempered by personal responsibility."