Everyone expected that Charles Bronson, commissioner of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, would opt out of the race for governor. The only suspense was whether Bronson would fire a parting shot at Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer. And... yep!
Bronson had been grousing as recently as Monday about the party's seeming intention to rig the primaries for their favorite candidates. Still, Bronson has political reasons for keeping the good graces of the party leaders, just as they would try to avoid bad publicity in advance of Bronson's scheduled announcement Friday.
Remember that Bronson's interest in the governor's office is as old as Charlie Crist's interest in the U.S. Senate -- at least a few months. By going public with that interest, Bronson hoped to lure some big campaign donors. When they didn't materialize, Bronson smelled conspiracy: that his fellow Florida Republicans were guiding the party's big spenders to a single candidate, Attorney General Bill McCollum, in hopes of avoiding a competitive primary.
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"I should have known, I guess, a little bit of this when I mentioned to Chairman Greer that I was thinking about the run for governor quite some time ago," Bronson said ruefully Thursday. "I didn't think about it then, but he did look like the cat that ate the canary, so I have a feeling that maybe this has been in the works for some time. I just didn't know it."
That quote comes from newsserviceflorida.com, whose articles are only available to subscribers. The Herald's version of the story didn't include that link, and the story in the St. Pete Times left out the phrase that seems most explosive -- the part about "in the works for some time."
It sounds as though Bronson knew that his comments might piss off some party big wigs. It also sounds like didn't give a damn. Which earns him a video tribute from the mustachioed Chuck Bronson, after the jump.