Bill Nelson Closes Door on Challenging Rick Scott in 2014
Around the State
On Friday, a day after a spokesman said his boss was considering challenging Gov. Rick Scott in 2014, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson insisted he has no plans of running for governor.
Nelson was asked about the topic during an appearance on MSNBC Friday morning.
“I have no intention,” Nelson said when asked about making a gubernatorial bid. “I've got my hands full as senator."
Pressed again about whether he plans to challenge Scott, Nelson repeated that he is not interested in running against Scott.
"I have no plans to run for governor. I have no intention of running for governor," Nelson insisted. "I love this job as senator except I am very, very frustrated as we have discussed this morning that we can't get anything done because you can't get people together to build consensus."
On Thursday, Dan McLaughlin, a spokesman for Nelson, told Roll Call that Florida’s senior senator was considering running against Scott. With Scott struggling in the polls, the names of prominent Democrats -- including former Gov. Charlie Crist who was formerly a Republican, and former state CFO Alex Sink who lost out to Scott in 2010 -- have invited speculation about trying to topple the Republican incumbent in 2014.
Nelson would have made a formidable opponent for Scott. After 40 years in Florida politics, Nelson won one of the biggest victories of his career in 2012 when he utterly routed the challenge of Republican hopeful Connie Mack.
While best known for his time in the Senate, to which he was elected in 2000, Nelson has served in various other offices as well. During the 1970s, Nelson served in Tallahassee in the Florida House. He was elected to the U.S. House in 1978. During his time in Congress, he won national attention for being a crew member aboard the space shuttle Columbia.
Nelson ran for governor in 1990 but came up short in a bitter primary against Lawton Chiles for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Bouncing back in 1994 when he was elected state treasurer, Nelson served six years in Tallahassee before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis piece exclusively for Sunshine State News.