Despite Easy Path in 2014, Jeff Atwater's Actively Helping the GOP
Around the State
Jeff Atwater won’t be in the political spotlight this year, but he is not headed to the sidelines either as he keeps his options open for the future.
Atwater has an easy assignment this time out with Democrat William Rankin offering him next to no competition in November. That being the case, Atwater can use 2014 to build for the future.
Most of the chattering class in Tallahassee thinks Atwater wants to run for governor in 2018 despite his attempts to become president of Florida Atlantic University. But there are other possibilities for Atwater as well.
He seriously considered jumping in against Bill Nelson in 2012 and there could be chances for open Senate seats in the years to come. Marco Rubio has already said he won’t seek a second term in the Senate if he runs for president in 2016, and Nelson will be 76 in 2018 and could call it a career after three terms. With other Republicans like Adam Putnam and Will Weatherford looking to move up the ladder, Atwater does have some options besides a gubernatorial bid.
For his part, Atwater has been all across the state in the last two weeks, helping Republicans. On Tuesday, Atwater was front and center going after Charlie Crist on behalf of Rick Scott. He also campaigned alongside Lizbeth Benacquisto on Tuesday as she took on tea party challenger Michael Dreikorn in the primary.
Atwater has also placed his bets in open House races. Over the past weekend, Atwater was campaigning with Jennifer Sullivan who faced four Republican challengers in an open House primary. Earlier this week, Atwater was in South Florida, helping Bryan Avilla over Alex Anthony in the Republican primary for another open seat. Atwater also pitched in for Daniel Diaz Leyva, the Republican looking to topple Jose Javier Rodriguez in November.
Florida’s CFO has also been busy across the Sunshine State helping Republicans. Two weeks ago, Atwater was urging Republicans in Lake City to get out to vote. Earlier this week, he was at a Reagan Day dinner in Broward County, rallying the party faithful.
Regardless of his pursuit of the FAU presidency, Atwater shows no signs of slowing down and has been picking up the pace, collecting IOUs and trying to get out in front of Republican voters. Despite pondering getting into higher ed, Atwater shows no signs of leaving the political stage any time soon.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.