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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Allan Bense considering entering U.S. Senate race



bense.jpgFormer Florida House Speaker Allan Bense is considering entering the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, after numerous "very high-profile" Republicans urged him to in the wake of Mike Haridopolos quitting the race.

"Don't hold your breath," Bense told the Buzz this evening, stressing he was more on the no side. "But obviously when you get some calls from some neat people saying, 'You ought to think about it,' you don't totally rule it out."

Bense, 59, would not name those people but said they are an array of respected elected officials and business people in Florida and elsewhere. "It was surprising," he said. "I'm a has-been."

Widely respected and often named as a potential statewide candidate, Bense left office in 2006 and returned to his construction business in the Panhandle. He said he hasn't kept up with the Senate race much but his phone started ringing after Haridopolos' shocking withdrawal Monday.

Bense praised the two better known candidates still in the race -- Adam Hasner and George LeMieux (he doesn't really know the others) and said it would take continued crisis in Washington to lean him toward running.

"A calamity in Washington that jeopardizes this beautiful country would probably really help push me, and I hope that doesn't happen."

Bense said he has no time-line, but stressed he was "shading on the no side."

Bense was courted to run against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in 2006 but decided against it, leaving gaffe-prone Katherine Harris to get demolished by Nelson.


[Last modified: Friday, July 22, 2011 3:46pm]


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