With Florida CFO Jeff Atwater abruptly taking his name out of consideration of the 2016 Republican Senate primary race, Senator Rubio’s presumed safe Senate seat is now up for grabs.
Rep. Ron DeSantis is expected to announce that he will be running to replace Senator Rubio in the Senate, as well as Florida Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who has been talking with potential supporters and elected officials about his interest in picking up where his friend Marco will leave off.
Another elected official that many believe would be a strong contender for Rubio’s seat is Rep. Tom Rooney.
We caught up with Rooney at Rubio’s much-anticipated presidential announcement in Miami, where Rooney addressed Atwater’s departure and his possible run for the U.S. Senate.
Rooney says that Atwater’s decision not to run for the Senate “certainly expediates the thought process,” as he acknowledged that Atwater “was the clear front runner” in the upcoming Senate primary race:
Making a decision like this is a big deal, but what concerns me more is whether or not there is going to be a national security dialogue part of this campaign and who the candidates are that are getting involved, because its the number one issue, its the issue I care most about.
Rooney, who does not have a timeline set for a potential Senate announcement, all but said that he would jump into the race, if any of the announced Republican Senate candidates did not engage in a national security dialogue.
Rep. Rooney is seriously considering this run, but is weighing in the fact that if he ran for statewide office, he would surely miss a lot family moments like seeing his son play baseball. Rooney said:
You have to send signals now that you are interested, which we have done… I’m confidant that if I ran, I’d win.