Republican Businessman Enters Florida Senate Primary

Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:24am

Former Ruth’s Chris Steak House CEO Craig Miller (R) announced his candidacy for Senate Tuesday in Orlando, Fla. He joins a crowded GOP field hoping to take on Sen. Bill Nelson (D), becoming the fifth Republican to announce for the Florida Senate race.

In an interview with Roll Call last month, Miller, who also worked in the management of Uno’s Chicago Grill and the National Restaurant Association, strongly emphasized his business credentials. But he said his time in boardroom hadn’t dulled his connection to the common man. “You will see that there’s more grease in my veins than there is blue blood,” he said.

Miller, a former Air Force pilot, will visit four Florida cities Tuesday as part of his campaign roll out.

In the GOP primary, Miller faces former Sen. George LeMieux, Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, former Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, and retired Army Col. Mike McCalister.

In a statement Tuesday, Miller framed himself as different from most of his competition. “Voters also tell me they are fed up with a government dominated by career politicians who’ve never worked a day in the private sector and are completely out of touch with Main Street,” he said.

Though he’s spent most of his life in business, Miller has taken a crack a politics before. He lost a primary to now-Rep. Sandy Adams (R) in Florida’s 24th Congressional district. He put more than $500,000 of his own money into that campaign.