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Ron DeSantis Considering Run For Rubio’s Senate Seat as Jeff Atwater Looks To 2018

| April 12, 2015

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater. (The Gardens Mall)

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater. (The Gardens Mall)

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater surprised the state’s political establishment Saturday, announcing he will not pursue a U.S. Senate seat expected to open up if Sen. Marco Rubio runs for president.

In a statement, Atwater said he had “received a tremendous amount of encouragement” to run for the office.

“While I have certainly taken these words of support under consideration, I will not be a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2016,” the Republican said. “I remain committed to only one endeavor and that is to be the best CFO I can be for the people of Florida.”

With his fundraising ability and an operation that has helped him win two statewide races, Atwater would have been the favorite to win an open seat. He won re-election in November with more votes than any other statewide candidate. Before becoming CFO, he served in the Legislature, including a stint as state Senate president.

Rubio is scheduled to announce his plans Monday and is widely expected to say he will run for the Republican presidential nomination. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has already said he’s exploring a White House bid.

Politico on Saturday reported that Ron DeSantis, the congressman representing the district that includes all of Flagler County, is “strongly considering” a Senate run, “and intends to confirm his intentions to consider the race in a statement after Rubio’s expected announcement Monday, with a final decision coming shortly thereafter,” Politico reported, citing “a source close to DeSantis.”

“The source said DeSantis has more than $1 million cash-on-hand in his congressional account that he could roll over and use in a Senate race,” Politico reported.

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, former state House Speaker Will Weatherford and several members of Florida’s congressional delegation have also been mentioned as possible GOP candidates for Rubio’s seat. Attorney General Pam Bondi has ruled out a run.

While an open Senate seat is a rare opportunity, some candidates might prefer to wait until 2018. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., would be 74 on Election Day if he runs for re-election then, and voting turnout tends to favor the GOP in midterm elections.

Leading Democrats have coalesced behind two-term Congressman Patrick Murphy, who represents a swing seat in Southeast Florida, as their candidate for Rubio’s seat. But some progressives have complained about the rush to anoint Murphy, and Congressman Alan Grayson, a liberal firebrand from Central Florida, is considering a run.

The state will be closely watched in 2016, as Democrats try to wrest control of the Senate away from Republicans. Florida is far friendlier to Democratic candidates in presidential years, though having Bush or Rubio at the top of the ticket could shake up that calculus.

–News Service of Florida and FlaglerLive

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6 Responses for “Ron DeSantis Considering Run For Rubio’s Senate Seat as Jeff Atwater Looks To 2018”

  1. Lancer says:

    Makes sense. De Santis is a conservatives conservative. He doesn’t get mired in the social abyss and has logical thought process. He has the ivy league education. He has created a great DC reputation and will have no problem fund raising.

    • Flatsflyer says:

      He has no record of doing anything positive, for the 6 1/2 Million $$$ he get’s for representing us, I expect at least doing something for his district or the state of Florida. In my opinion he is nothing but hot wind, not a performer. He fits right in with all the other obstructionist Tea Baggers in DC.

  2. Yellowstone says:

    We wonder what Ron’s opinion is on: lower taxes, a larger income gap; abolishment of the minimum wage, worker’s rights, social safety nets, and government regulations; tort reform, arbitrary agreements, and corporations donations as if they are an individual,

    Are these ideas good for Flagler County?

  3. Roady says:

    DeSantis has done nothing but tilt at windmills and promote conspiracy theories since he got into office. He is a loyal servant of the 1% and seems to spend more time and effort on Israel than his own small section of Florida. Utterly worthless to the average Floridian.

  4. JimBob says:

    Just what we need–another neo-fascist in the Senate to replace at least one who is leaving.

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