Despite rumors that Rep. West (R-FL) was actively seeking a U.S. senate seat, the buzz was put to rest Monday afternoon in a press release. The Hill reports:
“I have been given one of the highest honors to serve in the House of Representatives and I will continue to serve the citizens in that capacity,” West said. “I will not seek the Republican nomination for the United States Senate in 2012. With regard to my future, the only goal I have is to do my very best to represent the constituents of the Congressional District and to restore the exceptionalism of our nation.”
West had said last week that the door “was cracked very slightly” to a race, and that in the last few weeks Republican elected officials had tried to convince him to run for the Senate. In Monday’s statement, West said he had listened to them “out of respect” but then decided against a run.
No high-ranking Republicans or conservative outside groups came forward to publicly say they were pushing West to run for the Senate.
Republicans in Florida continue to fret that the current field of candidates is weak and could cause the party to miss an opportunity to knock off Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. Republicans currently in the race include former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, former Sen. George LeMieux, retired Army Col. Mike McCalister and former Ruth’s Chris CEO Craig Miller. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) has also been mentioned as a possible candidate.