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Dockery: People 'don't want to be told what to think'

Paula Dockery, a state senator from Lakeland, confirmed Tuesday she will file papers to begin raising money and seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2010. Her candidacy means that the GOP now has internal primaries for every major statewide office but one -- chief financial officer.

Dockery, 48, issued a statement in which she took issue with the Republican Party's decision to "anoint" Attorney General Bill McCollum as its nominee. "People want a choice," Dockery said. "People I meet don't want to be told what to think." Helping to distribute news about Dockery's candidacy: Rosemary Goudreau, a friend and former editorial page editor of The Tampa Tribune who previously worked as a Miami Herald reporter and editor. Orlando area anti-tax crusader Doug Guetzloe is also a supporter of Dockery.

"I'm getting in the race to offer voters the opportunity to have a different choice ... and I'm asking the voters of Florida, 'Would you hire me to be your next governor?' It doesn't matter who's in the race. The more, the merrier," Dockery's statement said.

She declined to say whether she plans to use some of her extensive family wealth to underwrite her candidacy. "Let's see how well I do fundraising," she said, adding that she already has developed a volunteer network of hundreds of supporters. 

McCollum appeared to be unconcerned with Dockery's candidacy, calling her a "reputable" candidate but adding. "I'm focused on the race against the chief financial officer (Democrat Alex Sink), who's my principal opponent in this race."

-- Steve Bousquet