Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 2, 2014

Bill Nelson Mulls Bid for Florida Governor

Bill Nelson Mulls Bid for Florida Governor

Nelson is considering running for governor in Florida. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is considering a bid against GOP Gov. Rick Scott in 2014.

“I’d say that’s true, that he’s considering it,” said Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin. “An awful lot of people have contacted him and asked him to do so. But — and as he’s said a number of times — he presently doesn’t have any intention of running. He’s got a job to do as a senator.”

Privately, top Florida Democrats described Nelson’s consideration as “fairly serious,”as Abby Livingston reported in Roll Call’s weekly Farm Team column.

“It’s on the way to being fairly serious. I think he is going to take a very close look at it,” a senior Florida Democratic official told CQ Roll Call. “It’s not very far along. I wouldn’t tell you it’s likely … [but] I think he will really look at it.”

Democrats consider Scott a top gubernatorial target in 2014. But if Nelson runs and defeats Scott, what happens to his Senate seat? It’s complicated.

The governor is charged with appointing a successor to Nelson’s seat under state election law. But it’s unclear, given the timing, who would make that appointment. More from Farm Team:

An aide with Florida’s Division of Elections said such a situation would leave a small window of time for Scott to appoint a Republican to the Senate. But Democrats say Nelson would appoint his own successor.

Regardless, the appointee would hold the seat until a 2016 special election.

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