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Business Observer Monday, May 24, 2010 12 years ago

Money talks, Dockery walks

Sen. Paula Dockery bows out of the race for governor.

State Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, ended her grass roots campaign for governor May 24 after a six-month attempt to get her message out. In her YouTube video message, Dockery cites the problem with a grass roots campaign not reliant on “big special interest money.”

Dockery raised about $479,000 through March 31, the end of the last campaign-reporting period, but never got beyond single-digit polling numbers.

Elected to the Senate in 2002, Dockery faces term-limits this year.

In an apparent reference to the largely self-financed campaign of Rick Scott, Dockery says in the video, “It has become abundantly clear in order to run a statewide race one does need millions and millions of dollars to get on TV and get your message out through the broadcast media.”

Scott, the former head of the Columbia/HCA hospital chain, entered the campaign April 9 and has dominated the airwaves spending roughly $5 million on campaign commercials in major media markets. That helped the Naples resident overtake Dockery in the polls and provide a threat to state Attorney General Bill McCollum.

In a Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey early this month, Dockery garnered just 7% among likely Republican primary voters with McCollum leading with 38%, Scott at 24%, and 31% undecided.

“Rick Scott's $100 million changed the dynamics,” says Dockery campaign senior consultant Jamie Miller of Sarasota. “There just wasn't enough fundraising out there to keep a campaign going.”

Or as Dockery put it, “There's no financial path to effectively get our message out.”

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