Room for another in the Fla GOP Senate primary?
Sounds more and more like Craig Miller, the former Ruth's Chris CEO from Winter Park who ran unsuccessfull for congress last year, is poised to join the Republican primary field. The 61-year-old Vietnam veteran was in Washington today meeting with with Republicans and donors about a possible run and working the phones to tout his candidacy to reporters.
"I see three career Tallahassee politicians," Miller said when asked about the major Republican candidates already running - Senate president Mike Haridopolos, former state Rep. Adam Hasner, and former Sen. George LeMieux. "All have some conservative credentials to offer to people, but no one has been a job creator. No one's really worked in the private sector."
Miller ran for the Orlando area Congressional District 24 seat, and won nearly 28 percent of the vote in the five-person primary - narrowly behind Karen Diebel who won 29 percent and Sandy Adams who won 30 percent. He spent nearly $560,000 of his own money in that campaign. But he's not Rick Scott rich, and said he would have to raise most of his money.
We haven't seen him campaign, but clearly he's a serious person. If there's a real hunger for non-politicians and he can come up with resources, anything could happen. Certainly we hear a lot of Republicans underwhelmed by the current field.
After graduating from Cocoa High School and turning 18, Miller enlisted in the Air Force and after basic training volunteered for duty in Vietnam and was sent to Cam Rahn Bay, South Vietnam. He concluded his military service with the rank of Staff Sergeant.
After stints at FSU and what is now UCF, he wound up working for Red Lobster's Bill Darden and Joe Lee. He left in 1984 to join Uno Restaurant group, where he spent 17 years. From He spent a year at Furr's Restaurant Group and then joined Ruth's Chris Steak House. As President and CEO of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, his bio says, "he led the company through four years of record new restaurant openings, record sales and profits, a very successful Public Offering and the relocation of the Company in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to Seminole County. During this time he also served in the leadership of the National Restaurant Association."