Published: Jul 28, 2010 7:05 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 28, 2010 4:02 PM EDT

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Bill McCollum has gotten the endorsement of the influential Florida Chamber of Commerce in the contentious race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

Chamber board chairman Steve Halverson said Wednesday in Tampa
that the group voted to endorse McCollum based on his track record
of pro-business policies and his understanding of the problems facing the state's economy.

The chamber has never endorsed a candidate in a governor's election, but Halverson said it decided to make an exception this year because the new chief executive's policies will be critical to Florida's economic recovery.

Halverson emphasized that the endorsement was not a rejection of McCollum's opponent Rick Scott, a political newcomer who leads in the polls.