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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

CFO Jeff Atwater thinking of running for U.S. Senate



Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today told the Shark Tank blog that he is taking a look at running for U.S. Senate, taking on Connie Mack and George LeMieux for the nomination after being recruited to get in the race.

"It's late. But I share the same deep-seated concern they hold. This is an extraordinary country. It's an exceptional place on the planet and if we don't turn it around soon, frankly it will be too late for another generation," said Atwater. "I think I have a responsibility to sit back (and listen) to these people that I respect greatly and are serious-minded conservatives of this great state to take a hard look at it."

The surprise announcement comes as a growing number of Republicans have fretted that neither Mack nor LeMieux is shaping up as a strong enough contender to give Democratic incumbent a tough challenge. The Times/Herald this weekend noted how many Republicans have been surprised that Mack did not prove to be more formidable after jumping in the race last fall.

Atwater, the former banker and Florida Senate president from Palm Beach County is a formidable fundraiser respected by conservative activists. He had widely been seen as a future gubernatorial candidate, not a senate candidate. But considering that Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is also viewed as a strong future gubernatorial, a senate bid could make more sense as the low key Atwater plans his political future.

Atwater did not respond to inquiries from the Times/Herald thoughout Monday, and the Atwater trial balloon came as a surprise to several of his political advisers.

[Last modified: Monday, April 16, 2012 6:14pm]


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