MSNBC host and former Florida congressman Joe Scarborough may run for the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez in 2010, according to a report in the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
The host of "Morning Joe" has been fielding calls from Florida Republicans urging him to run. "I haven't closed it off," he told the paper in an article published Monday. "I've been getting some calls from some fundraisers in Florida."
But Scarborough noted that his show has gained in the ratings and has become a favorite among political enthusiasts, giving him a clout he lacked in his former job. He told the paper he even may have more influence now as a cable talk-show host than as Florida's junior senator.
But the race is wide open now that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced he wasn’t running after toying with the notion for several weeks. To date, Scarborough’s most formidable challenger among Republicans would be Gov. Charlie Crist, who has declined on several occasions to say he would not run for the senate. Democrats are also scrambling to find a well-known candidate after Alex Sink, the state’s chief financial officer, said she would not run.
Scarborough may face a problem among some conservatives who fear he’s veered left since rising to prominence on his show, which features generally amiable chatter with leaders of both parties on a network, MSNBC, many regard as the Fox News of the left. A congressman who served for six years in one of Florida's most conservative districts, Scarborough angered many in his party during the 2008 election for not appearing to support the GOP more enthusiastically.
"I have been bashing my party more than the Democratic Party because I want to make sure that I am fair and down the middle," Scarborough said last year.
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