Replacements for Rubio in Senate Start to Line Up

AP Photo
AP Photo

If Senator Marco Rubio decides to run for president instead of running for reelection to the U.S. Senate, Florida CFO Jeff Atwater is in good position to win Rubio’s seat, if an election was held today.

The latest Mason-Dixon poll conducted of a possible 2016 Florida Senate race shows that Atwater is the clear frontrunner, and has a remarkably low 5% unfavorable rating among Floridians.

Atwater also leads potential Democrat Senate candidate Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Rep. Patrick Murphy by double digits in head-to-head match ups.

I tend to agree with the Politico’s Marc “Frisbee” Caputo assessment, that in a contested Republican primary race against a staunch fiscal conservative candidate like Rep. Ron DeSantis (R), Atwater would have “explain why he led the Florida Senate to raise $2.2 billion in taxes to qualify for billions in federal stimulus money.”

Could DeSantis and conservative groups like the Club for Growth look to frame Atwater as just another Obama Stimulus-supporter, much like they did to Charlie Crist when he embraced the president’s failed economic measure and ran for U.S. Senate against now-Senator Marco Rubio?

Yep, you can bet on that.

Both DeSantis and Atwater are in good positions moving into the 2016 election cycle. DeSantis is expected to report a significant campaign finance haul this quarter, and is already hailed as one of the most popular conservatives who loves to stick it to the establishment Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives.

DeSantis is red meat for conservatives, and could be able raise federal dollars and “explore” a possible Senate run, but not have to fully commit to a run until next year.

In addition, DeSantis could also use a possible 2016 Senate run to raise his state and national profile to position himself to challenge Democrat Senator Bill Nelson in 2018.

Aside from Atwater’s billion dollar Stimulus tax hike while he sat at the helm of the state Senate, Atwater is no Charlie Crist, and is considered by most to be a staunch conservative lawmaker, as well as having a very high favorability rating with Florida voters.


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