Cretul for Congress? It's possible, he says
Just back from a two-day trip to Washington where he met with his party's congressional strategists, House Speaker Larry Cretul of Ocala says he's giving "strong consideration" to running for Congress in 2010. The Republican lawmaker would be taking on first-term Democrat Alan Grayson, who ousted GOP incumbent Ric Keller by a 52-to-48 percent margin last fall.
"I've been taking a look at it," Cretul said. "I'm not going to spend a lot of time dwelling on it." Cretul did say several times that, after being unexpectedly installed as speaker following Ray Sansom's downfall, he did not consider himself a career politician and looked forward to a return to private life when his speakership ends. But he said his two sons have urged him to consider it on behalf of Cretul's two grandsons, who are 2 years old and 6 months old
One of Cretul's challenges would be the difficulty of seeking higher office while being in control of the House (see Johnnie Byrd, who ran for the Senate in 2004). Another is that his home base of Marion County is on the northern periphery of Congressional District 8 and represented a bit more than 10 percent of the vote in the 2008 election.
Reaction from the Florida Democratic Party: "Larry Cretul led the effort to pass a fiscally responsible budget that not only raised taxes on Floridians but forced layoffs of police, firefighters and teachers," spokesman Eric Jotkoff said. "When even Republicans were calling Cretul's backroom dealings 'embarrassing,' it's clear that Cretul is exactly what the people of Florida's 8th District voted against when they voted for change last November."