Bronson bows out of race
By WILLIAM MARCH firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tampa Tribune
Published: May 22, 2009
TAMPA – State Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson announced Thursday that he won’t run for governor next year.
That decision, partly the result of pressure from party leaders, means both Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum and state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat, will have clear primary fields in the gubernatorial race, with no major challengers for the nominations.
Bronson, however, also said he feared that party efforts to eliminate primary challengers would squash morale among GOP grass-roots supporters.
"The shame of not having a primary is that there won’t be a whole lot going on out there," he said. "You need an active, energized grass roots out there. How do you do that if there’s no real race going on?"
In a message to Republican Party activists Wednesday, State GOP Chairman Jim Greer explained his controversial attempts to limit GOP candidates in both the governor and Senate races. He said the party would face "a significant disadvantage in the general election due to having a costly and combative primary" and that he decided McCollum "was the candidate … which ’all rivers were flowing towards.’"
Bronson said it became clear to him that McCollum had roped in Republican fundraisers and donors, meaning a campaign would be futile.
He faces a term limit next year and said he will talk to supporters "and decide what I’m going to do. If I go back and work on the ranch, that’ll be fine with me."