After Marco Rubio's announcement Monday that he will run for president in 2016, Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, said he "has not ruled out," running for Rubio's Senate seat in 2016.
For 10 years, Buchanan has served in the House, where he's a member of the House Ways and Mean Committee, which presides over tax policy, international trade and health care, as well as the Budget Committee.
"I'm trying to gauge where I can best be of service," Buchanan said. "I'm weighing whether I can better serve as a senior member of the House or as a junior member of the Senate."
Frank Alcock, associate professor of political science at New College of Florida, said he'd give Buchanan running "about a 50-50 chance."
"Vern might conclude to hold on to what he has in the House, he might want to look at running for governor and he might wait for 2018, since Sen. Bill Nelson's seat will probably open up," Alcock said. "Anything is possible for Vern, because he's safe in his current seat. Though if Nelson decides to wait one more term it might throw things off."
Three other Florida Republicans -- Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and U.S. Rep.s Ron DeSantis and Tom Rooney -- have expressed interest in the Senate seat, though no Republicans have officially announced. A few others have also been coy about potential bids.
Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy is the only one who has officially announced his bid for the seat in 2016.
If Buchanan decides to step into what will likely be a highly contested race, he'll set off another contested race for his seat in the House.
"It would be an extremely crowded field," Alcock said. "A lot of people will run saying, 'Hey, what do I have to lose?'"
Alcock said possible contenders for the seat could include Florida Senate Majority Leader Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton; state Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Sarasota; developer and former state Sen. Pat Neal; and Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett, also a former member of the Florida House and Senate.
Regardless of his decision to run for Senate or not, Buchanan said he was excited to see Rubio running for president.
"He has a lot to offer," Buchanan said. "I have very strong feelings about his abilities."
Even if Buchanan decides to stay put, Alcock says Rubio's announcement is going to result in a game of musical chairs for politicians.
"The way Republicans roll, they say, 'Wait your turn.' No one is waiting their turn anymore," Alcock said. "During his campaign against Charlie Crist, Rubio learned that he didn't need to wait his turn, and to say, 'When it's my time, I'm going for it.'"