Scarborough withdrawing from Senate race

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The newly drawn Senate District 7 doesn't look like Scarborough Country. At least not to Brian Scarborough.

The Gainesville Democrat had been one of the party's promising newcomers and had hoped to capture the seat, which currently has no incumbent, but said Wednesday he is withdrawing because the district is drawn to favor a Republican from Clay County.

Scarborough, an insurance company owner from Gainesville was the third largest fundraiser in the first quarter of this year – though an opponent for District 7, Republican Rob Bradley, an Orange Park lawyer who has been chairman of the Clay County Commission, was the second largest. 

Scarborough said the way the new Senate map that includes Alachua, Clay and part of Bradford counties makes it unlikely that a Democrat from Gainesville can win.

"The district was clearly drawn to heavily favor a Republican from Clay County, and while I am not afraid of a hard fought election, I see no reason to waste my time and your money in a race that has almost certainly been decided by those currently in power in Tallahassee," Scarborough said in a letter sent to supporters.

He said he would refund contributions.

The sitting senator who lives in the area, Sen. Steve Oelrich, R-Cross Creek, is running for Congress, and Democrats were hoping to pick up a seat.

"I sincerely hope that the economic engines of our community, such as the University of Florida and Shands HealthCare System, will not be adversely impacted as a result of the loss of a senator from our area," Scarborough wrote to his backers.

The Florida Secretary of State's election website shows Republican Dorothy Hukill, of Port Orange, and Democrat Frank Bruno, of Ponce Inlet, also in the race -- but neither lives in the redrawn district that was approved by the Florida Supreme Court last month.

Bruno, a former Ponce Inlet councilman and vice mayor, has raised the most campaign funds so far, according to the state website.

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