A key staffer to one of the leading Republicans in Washington, D.C., is looking at running in 2016 for the open congressional seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., who is running for the U.S Senate.
William Bill Castle, currently the general counsel to U.S. Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is looking at entering the race, sources told Sunshine State News on Thursday. Castle has worked for Hatch since 2002 and the senator has called him a trusted lieutenant for his work on legal issues. Castle attended Brown and went to law school at the University of Pennsylvania.
While currently based in Washington, D.C., Castle has ties to Palm Beach. His father John K. Castle has been prominent in philanthropy and business in the area, garnering national headlines when he purchased the Winter White House in 1995 from the Kennedy family. The house had been bought by Joseph P. Kennedy back in the early 1930s and was used by John F. Kennedy during his presidency. John Castle is the chairman and CEO of Castle Harlan, a merchant bank, and investment firm Branford Castle.
Sources close to Bill Castle inform Sunshine State News that he has met with consultants in both Washington, D.C., and Florida and they have studied the district. Castle will be getting more active in Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast in the weeks to come, meeting with voters and Republican leaders and activists as he ponders entering the race.
If Castle runs, he will face a potentially large field of candidates. This week, state Rep. Pat Rooney, R-West Palm Beach, said there was a 50-50 chance he could enter the contest. Conservative commentator Noelle Nickpour opened the door to running in the Republican primary in recent days.
Currently, Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor and engineer Juan Xuna are running for the Democratic nomination. Martin County School Board member Rebecca Negron is running for the Republican nomination.
There are several other possible candidates, including St. Lucie County Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky and Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay on the Democratic side, and former state Rep. Carl Domino, state Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, St. Lucie County Commissioner Tod Mowery, Martin County Commissioner Doug Smith and businessman Gary Uber for the Republicans.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN. During the 2000 presidential cycle, Kevin led Hatchs campaign in New York.