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In the Race for US Senate, More Out than In

January 29th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Open US Senate seats are a rarity. Mel Martinez decided against a second term two months ago, yet as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the lack of big name candidates stepping up is a surprise.

Hear it Here: US Senate Race

The two latest casualties in the U.S. Senate race are Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum and Democrat Congressman Allen Boyd. Both have said no.

They join two of the states heaviest hitters, Jeb Bush and CFO Alex Sink, who are also out.

Only Miami Congressman Kendrick Meek and state Senator Dan Gelber have taken the plunge.

But what about Charlie Crist? Asked if he could see himself in the race the day Gelber announced, he left the door open.

Not today, Crist said.

Later the same day, he brushed aside the same question.

Im not really thinking about politics, Crist said. Im thinking about our budget. Im thinking about what I have to do.

Charlie Crist has a luxury that no other candidate considering the Senate race has, and thats that he is so popular, he can take a year to make up his mind.

Florida GOP Chair Jim Greer says until the governor sends a clear signal, the GOP field will be slim.

I dont think hes ever closed the door or opened the door, Greer said. Most importantly hes focusing on being Governor of Florida. And at the end of the day, Charlie Crist is going to play a very important role in who becomes the next United States Senator from Florida.

With a 67 percent approval rating, Governor Charlie Crist will stay in the drivers seat until he makes up his mind…and everyone will be in the back seat.

Waiting in the GOP wings is former House Speaker Marco Rubio….complete with a web site that looks very candidate-like but never mentions an election. Also posturing: Connie Mack, whos father held the seat and two term Sarasota congressman Vern Buchanan. On the Democrat side, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio is seriously considering.

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