Charlie Crist said Monday he won’t be running for any office in 2016, dispelling political rumors that he might seek a U.S. Senate seat if Republican incumbent Marco Rubio runs for president.
“As members of the Florida Democratic Party, we stand for something — fairness, growing the middle class, and policies that strengthen future generations,” the former Florida governor wrote on Facebook.
“I will not be seeking office in 2016, but I will be working alongside you. Too much is at stake for our beautiful Florida to be on the sidelines.”
In a sign of state Democrats’ thin candidate bench, Crist’s name had surfaced as a potential contender if Rubio, as expected, decides not to seek reelection. Crist, the Republican-turned-independent-turned Democrat, lost the Senate race to Rubio as an independent in 2010. He then lost to Gov. Rick Scott as a Democrat in 2014.
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The most likely Democratic candidate now appears to be U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter, who held a swanky South Beach gathering for donors last weekend. He’s expected to launch a campaign next week, regardless of Rubio’s plans.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, wouldn’t say Monday if she’s considering making a bid of her own.
Several Republicans have also quietly expressed interest.