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Pam Bondi Ahead of Fellow Cabinet Members in 2016 GOP Senate Primary

March 4, 2015 - 6:00pm

If U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., decides to run for the presidency in 2016 and not for a second term, out of the three officials in the state Cabinet, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi holds a solid lead over the other two Republicans in a potential 2016 primary.

A poll of Florida Republicans from Gravis Marketing finds Bondi out front with 36 percent. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who is generally considered more likely to run for governor in 2018 than the U.S. Senate, garners 12 percent. State CFO Jeff Atwater takes 9 percent.

But the poll also shows more than two-fifths of Florida -- 43 percent -- are not sure of who they would back in the primary.

As the conversation continues to grow louder that Rubio will aim for the White House in 2016 and not run for a second Second term, increasingly potential Senate candidates are growing more active across Florida.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), has expressed interest in the 2016 race whether Rubio runs for a second term or not. So has U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., though he has shown less inclination to run if Wasserman Schultz is in the mix. U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., has also opened the door to a 2016 bid.

On the Republican side, reports emerged last week that Atwater was in Washington, D.C., courting the National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC). Atwater had considered running against U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in 2012 but decided not to run. U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., has also expressed some interest in running for the Senate if Rubio decides to try for the presidency.

The poll of 513 Florida Republicans was taken from Feb. 24-25 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

Reach Kevin Derby at or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

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