If he loses, Carlos Beruff says he won't run for office again

By Michael Auslen

Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau

Carlos Beruff
Carlos Beruff Bradenton Herald file

There’s a rumor spreading in Tallahassee these days that goes like this: If Carlos Beruff loses the Republican primary for U.S. Senate this month, he’ll set his sights on a run for governor to succeed his friend Gov. Rick Scott.

But, Beruff said, it’s totally false.

“No, that’s not me,” he told the Herald/Times on Wednesday before speaking to the Heritage Pines Republican Club in Pasco County. “I’ve been asked. It’s all rumors. I never wanted to be a politician. I wanted to go fix things that are broken and a substantial portion of the people in Washington simply aren’t capable of fixing them.”

Beruff, a millionaire homebuilder from Bradenton, faces a tough fight against Sen. Marco Rubio on Aug. 30, when Republican voters will choose their Senate candidate.

Beruff told voters last week in Tampa that he would not seek another Senate run. But his close ties to Scott, whose allies and former staffers have largely lined up behind Beruff, spurred the gubernatorial rumors.

“I have no plans for any future,” he said. “I have a life. I have a great life.”

In this race, Beruff has already spent a considerable amount of his personal wealth. He estimates about $10 million so far, much of it on TV ads.

If he loses to Rubio, he says it’s a lot of money to have lost.

“Losing $9 million or $12 million? Nobody likes losing $10 or $12 million dollars, give me a break,” he said. “You’d have to be an idiot especially when it’s your own money, but it’s worthwhile to try to make a difference in the country.”

He entered the race in March, when Rubio was not planning on seeking reelection. In a much larger field where no one had the name recognition of a sitting senator, Beruff’s chances appeared higher. And he’s happy to admit that.

Other candidates quickly endorsed Rubio when he decided to run this summer.

Not Beruff. And he doesn’t plan to.

“I’d be two-faced, and I’m not two-faced. That’s not who I am,” he said. “Far as I’m concerned, he hasn’t done his job."