Sunday, August 21, 2005


The Pensacola News Journal notes today that former Panhandle congressman and current MSNBC talk host Joe Scarborough has ended several days of speculation by saying that he would not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Bill Nelson.

It has been widely reported over the past week that some key Republicans have approached Scarborough about possibly running. They are fearful that the only major GOP candidate thusfar, former Florida Secretary of State and current congresswoman Katherine Harris (R - Sarasota), is still too much of a lightning rod for Democrats and progressives to be a viable contender in next year's election.

Scarborough said he came to the decision after discussions with his family, noting that his return to public life should remain on hold until after his two teenage sons (who are 14 and 17) graduate from high school. His comments in recent days seemingly telegraphed that he did not really have the heart to "take the plunge", specifically noting that he told the Sarasota Herald Tribune's political writer Jeremy Wallace that he was "leaning against" running and that he had met with party officials "out of respect".

That makes at least six Republicans who have been approached and who have turned down efforts to challenge Harris. Retired General Tommy Franks, Florida Senate President Tom Lee (R - Brandon), Florida House Speaker Allan Bense (R - Panama City), Sarasota businessman/GOP activist Vern Buchanan (he's running for Harris' congressional seat), and Chief Financial Officer/gubernatorial candidate Tom Gallagher have all reportedly been sought. Congressman Mark Foley (R - West Palm Beach) has also said he has had meetings about his possibly running, and has only said that he would consider the thought.


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