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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

FL-Sen: Will Bense Jump In?

Posted by DavidNYC

Every month or so, for the past half year, the Florida GOP has sworn up and down that the Republican senate nomination belongs to Kathy Harris alone. Whenever someone suggests that maybe this isn't such a great idea, they get smacked down. But now with Harris at levels not seen since the USS Maine sank to the bottom of the ocean, the tide may be turning.

Florida State House Speaker Alan Bense has long been a possible alternative to Harris. The St. Petersburg Times blog notes some rumblings from his quarter:

[Bense] called the idea of a challenge against the better-known Harris intriguing "because all my life I've loved a good challenge."

"I'm thinking about it," Bense said when asked what he tells members who quiz him about his plans. "I'm thinking about it but I'm focused on what I'm doing now."

With 19 days until the Senate candidate qualifying deadline, Bense would not directly say whether he would consider taking on Harris in the primary. "I really don't want to focus on that," he said. "We've got 10 days to go in the session."

Elaborating on his much-talked-about comment of last Friday when he said there was a "50-50" chance, Bense said he meant 50-50 "that I might do something else down the road. It wasn't the Senate race." (Bense is widely rumored to be on a long list of potential lieutenant governor candidates).

Ten days left in the legislative session, but nineteen until the filing deadline. Something about Bense's phrasing - the fact that he allegedly refuses to look further than ten days into the future - makes me think he really is serious about jumping in. If he does, our biggest risk is that Harris drops out. But if there's a competitive primary, that might not be such a bad thing, considering that Florida's primary is not until Sept. 5th.

Posted at 09:33 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida | Technorati

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While Ed Rollins has gone haywire before (Whitman and walking-around money), I have a hard time believing his hatchet job on Harris wasn't sanctioned at the national level.

My gut read is the RSCC and other powers that be have given up on leaning Harris out of the race discretely and are resorting to stronger measures.

Bense would make more sense than recycling Billy Mac, who is still reeling from the "poster child of the homosexual rights extremists" mail bombing by Stu Stevens on behalf of Martinez in the 2004 primary.

Still, the only candidate the Fla GOP has who could pose a credible threat to Bill Nelson is Jeb Bush. Unless Jeb jumps in late, the GOP moves against Harris seem more calculated to avoid having Harris dragging down the ticket than actually beating Nelson.

Posted by: pinhickdrew [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 25, 2006 01:18 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment