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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Allen West: If Rubio runs for president 'of course' I would run for Senate



UPDATE: BuzzFeed reports that West is out at PJ Media and may have called a female co-worker a "Jewish American princess."

WASHINGTON - Former Rep. Allen West is sounding a different note about challenging Sen. Marco Rubio in 2016. But if Rubio runs for president, "of course" he'll run for Senate.

“I’m not looking to create disruption within our party. I don’t think it’s a viable option, right now,” West told the Buzz on Wednesday as he got off the Metro at Union Station.

Talk of a primary began in June when West appeared on a radio show and criticized the immigration reform bill Rubio had worked on. West said he would run for Senate if “I see people that are not taking our country down the right path, if I see people that are not standing up for the right type of principles and putting their own party politics before what is best for the United States of America."

Tea partiers, angry with Rubio, had urged West and the news media amplified his radio remarks, mostly ignoring the doubt he injected in the conversation – “That’s a pretty hard lift.”

Still, true to form, West on Wednesday did not close the door completely: “I’m not saying what I will do or what I won’t do. But I’m not looking to be disruptive. I’m about the American team. I’m about doing whatever I can to help the Republican Party. But I’m going to stick to my principles.”

He was certain about one thing: If Rubio runs for president, West will go for the Senate seat. "If that became an open seat, of course I would run. I have a good statewide appeal and a lot of people would like me to get back on Capitol Hill.”

Rubio is up for re-election in 2016. Under Florida law, he could not seek two federal offices at the same time, though there would be enough time for him to test a presidential campaign.

West served one bombastic term in Congress before being defeated by Democrat Patrick Murphy. In the interview, West blamed the "establishment" GOP in Tallahassee for redrawing his district, forcing him to run in another.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 26, 2013 5:06pm]


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