Not a single candidate has officially announced their intentions to seek the White House in 2016, but that hasn't stopped posturing in the race for a U.S. Senate seat held by a likely presidential contender.
Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Florida Democrat in the Sunshine State's 18th District, is expected to announce as soon as Monday that he will run for the Senate seat held by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who is considered a likely candidate for president, according to The Washington Post
Murphy's chances got a boost this week with announcements by two popular Democrats in his state —
former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz —
that neither intended to run for senator.
Crist, famous for party hopping from Republican to independent to Democrat, took to Facebook
Monday to make his announcement.
"As members of the Florida Democratic Party, we stand for something —
fairness, growing the middle class, and policies that strengthen future generations," he wrote. "I will not be seeking office in 2016, but I will be working alongside you. Too much is at stake for our beautiful Florida to be on the sidelines.
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement."
The next day, Wasserman Schultz told CNN's Wolf Blitzer she will be seeking re-election to her House seat and serve her full term as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, so that she can help elect the 45th president.
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Democratic strategists consider the 31-year-old Murphy to be a "top recruit," according to the Post, pointing to Murphy having raised an "impressive sum" —
more than $5 million —
in the 2014 election cycle. The newspaper also notes that Murphy "hails from a swing district where he had to win over centrist Democratic and Republican voters."
Murphy, who is serving his second term, offers a glimmer of hope for Florida Dems "who have been routinely slaughtered in state races over the past two decades, according to Florida political write Brian Crowley
"The governor's mansion, three elected Cabinet officers, as well as a majority of the state House and Senate are controlled by the GOP."
On Thursday, according to the Post, Murphy huddled with "party power brokers" at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. He told the newspaper he was "seriously considering" a run, but did not say when he'd announce a decision.
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