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Politics

Buchanan Bows Out of Senate Race as Legislative Dems Line Up Behind Murphy

April 29, 2015 - 6:00pm

Another Florida Republican has passed on running for the U.S. Senate in 2016 while a Democratic candidate reeled in the support of 25 state legislators on Thursday.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., announced on Thursday that he will remain in the U.S. House and not run for the Senate. Buchanans name had been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Senate seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is running for the presidency in 2016 and is not seeking a second term.

"The decision came down to where could I make the biggest difference in serving Florida and improving the lives of the middle class and the answer was pretty clear -- as a senior member on the committee that oversees the tax code, Social Security, Medicare and international trade, Buchanan said on Thursday. "It is the highest privilege and honor to represent the people of Florida's 16th District and I look forward to continue serving as their representative in Washington.

Buchanan, who sits on the U.S. House Ways and Means and the Budget committees, joins a growing list of Republicans who are sitting out the race. Other Republicans who have passed on the Senate race include state CFO Jeff Atwater, state Attorney General Pam Bondi, U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., and former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford.

With Buchanan out, Republican candidates include former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and former Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., is running on the Democratic side though U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., has left the door open to challenging him. Murphy has been reeling in the support of prominent Florida Democrats including former Gov. Charlie Crist and members of Congress like U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings and Frederica Wilson

On Thursday, six Democrats in the Florida Senate -- former Senate President Gwen Margolis of Miami Beach, Joseph Abruzzo of Wellington, Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth, Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville, Jeremy Ring of Margate and Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale -- and 19 Democrats in the Florida House, half of the caucus, endorsed Murphy.

"From South Florida to Tampa, from Orlando to the Panhandle, people are joining this campaign to get Washington working for Florida," said Murphy. "I am overwhelmed to have the support of so many state lawmakers, who are leaders in their communities. While they battle obstruction and extremism in Tallahassee, I, too, will continue that fight in Washington."


Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN.

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