Attorney General McCollum Running for Governor
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum announced Monday he is running for governor, telling a group of GOP leaders that he will work with all parties and all people to solve the state's problems.
McCollum's announcement comes less than a week after Republican Gov. Charlie Crist said he will run for U.S. Senate next year instead of seeking a second term.
While Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson has also considered running, it is clear the party leadership wants McCollum as its candidate.
Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer told the crowd he hopes the party will unite behind McCollum and that he would ask the party's executive committee to endorse him at its July meeting. The primary is in August 2010.
McCollum was elected attorney general in 2006 and has focused much of his effort on cybercrime, expanding an Internet crime unit started by his predecessor, Crist, and speaking at schools about the dangers of online predators.
He's also targeted mortgage fraud, gang activity and crimes against the elderly and has led an effort to stop Florida restaurants from selling fake grouper after learning about the many substitute inferior species for the popular state fish.
He had served 20 years in the U.S. House and 23 years in the Naval Reserve, retiring as a commander.
McCollum cited that experience during his announcement, saying it's needed during the tough financial times the state is facing.
Democrats, however, were quick to try to use his experience against him, sending out a press release before the announcement saying McCollum is a career politician and pointing out this is his 14th political campaign, including unsuccessful runs for Senate in 2000 and 2004.
If Bronson stays out of the race, McCollum would likely face Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in the general election. Sink, the only major Democrat expected to run, got in the race last week. Sink recently criticized McCollum for running a campaign-like ad to promote his cybercrime prevention program.
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