On Facebook, Jeff Atwater Announces He Won't Run for U.S. Senate This Year
Five days after Republican Jeff Atwater was quoted as "considering" a run for U.S. Senate, the state's chief financial officer scotched the idea.
"As much as Carole and I are humbled by your calls, notes and messages to enter the U.S. Senate race and carry our banner into the fight, we believe we have a responsibility to finish the job Floridians elected us to do," Atwater wrote on his Facebook page Saturday.
The Atwater boomlet captured the imagination and hopes of Republicans dissatisfied with the current GOP field headed by Connie Mack and George LeMieux -- both of whom trail Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in the polls and in campaign cash.
That Atwater, who rarely speaks off the cuff, would even intimate that he was considering a bid heightened speculation that the GOP financial elite had coalesced around the former state Senate president.
But that story line was dashed Saturday. And, in the end, it didn't auger well that a "Draft Jeff Atwater for U.S. Senate 2012" page had garnered only 21 "likes" on Facebook as of Saturday.
LeMieux's campaign declined to comment and Mack's spokesman said Atwater's announcement "speaks for itself."
Mike McCalister, another GOP hopeful often overlooked in media coverage, said he would have welcomed Atwater into the Senate race and "respected whatever decision he makes."
"Beating Bill Nelson is the objective, and we will need a candidate who has the best credentials to perform the serious and constitutional duties of the U.S. Senate. Nelson has already accumulated almost eight to 10 times more money than any Republican in this race, and it will be critical to beat him in the debates," McCalister told Sunshine State News.