Updated 11:40 p.m. | Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., will run for the Sunshine State’s open Senate seat, according to a source with knowledge of Miller’s plans. A second source said the announcement could come next week.
Miller will be the third Republican to officially enter the contest to replace Sen. Marco Rubio, who is vacating the competitive seat to run for president. Miller will be the third member of Congress in the race.
Florida’s Senate race is a top Democratic target as the party looks to net the five seats necessary to ensure Senate control. President Barack Obama carried the state twice.
On the Republican side, Rep. Ron DeSantis announced a bid earlier this year. Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez Cantera is also running.
On the Democratic side, Rep. Patrick Murphy is running with the support of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. But liberal rabble-rouser Alan Grayson is also weighing a run.
Miller will have to vacate the 1st District to run for Senate. It’s a heavily Republican district located in the westernmost part of the Florida Panhandle. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried it by a 39-point margin in 2012, making it one of the most conservative districts in the country.
A number of Republicans could look to run for Miller’s seat. They include:
- State Sen. Don Gaetz, a close friend of former Florida Gov. and presidential candidate Jeb Bush. Gaetz is wealthy and could self-fund a bid.
- State Sen. Greg Evers, a longtime member of the state legislature who ascended to the state Senate in 2010.
Florida’s Senate contest is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.
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