Jeb Bush’s announcement that he will not seek the seat of retiring US Senator Mel Martinez in 2010 should set the stage for a free-for-all in both parties.
Expect Alex Sink, provided she wants a DC role, to emerge as the front-runner on the Democratic side. Rep. Allen Boyd has made no secret of the fact that he would like to run and several other Democrats are likely to jump in. Sink; however, is the front-runner. And, without Jeb Bush on the other side, Sink should emerge as a strong favorite in the race.
The Republican field will most likely blow up in the next few months as various hopefuls vie for position. Attorney General Bill McCollum fancies himself a US Senator, so you should expect to see him jump in relatively soon. Never mind all that Clinton impeachment stuff and his two failed prior bids, he thinks he can win it this time. (Let’s see if he picked up any of Charlie Crist’s abilities to turn the Attorney General’s Office into a PR machine.) Former Speaker of the House Marco Rubio might have stepped aside for Jeb Bush (Bush is viewed as his mentor), but he harbors no sense of loyalty to McCollum. He has his sights set on grander things (he’d really like to challenge Crist in the Gubernatorial Primary, but doesn’t think the GOP would be keen on it, even though many view Crist as too moderate.) and would love to be Florida’s second Cuban-American Senator. US Rep. Connie Mack could make a great candidate, but he gives the impression that he entered politics because of his name, not necessarily because he has a passion for campaigning. Other Republicans to watch: washed up former CFO Tom Gallagher, former Lt. Governor Toni Jenning, US Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite and yes, attention-loving Governor Charlie Crist.
We are gonna have a real race, folks. Buckle up.