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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Manatee County developer likely to run for U.S. Senate



A Miami native who has made millions as a homebuilder in Manatee County is likely to get into Florida's U.S. Senate race.

Republican Carlos Beruff has gone from considering entering the race last month, to now likely to get into to the crowded Republican primary, Joanna Burgos, a media consultant that has spoken to Beruff about the race, told the Associated Press.

Beruff, 58, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Last month, Beruff said in an interview with the Times/Herald that friends and allies were encouraging him to look at the Senate, though Beruff has never before run for office before.

Beruff would be joining a crowded GOP primary field that already has U.S. Reps. Ron DeSantis and David Jolly, Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Todd Wilcox. But while some of those candidates have been in the race for more than 8 months, all have little statewide name recognition.

Beruff has been a trusted voice for Gov. Rick Scott, particularly on health care issues and served on Scott's transition team after he was elected governor in 2010. The governor also picked Beruff to lead his hospital commission last year. That commission was charged with looking at how taxpayer-supported hospitals spend their money and other costs and outcomes related to health care services. 

Beruff said in an interview last month that if he runs, it will be because he thinks he can really get something done in Washington. Beruff said just like his time volunteering on the Scott's hospital commission, he is looking for other ways to give back to the state and the country. 

If Beruff gets in, the AP reported that Matt Parker would serve as his campaign manager. Parker was Scott's 2010 field director and served as a consultant on Scott's 2014 re-election. Also coming over from Scott's campaigns would be Curt Anderson, who would help with polling, media and strategy, and fundraiser Debbie Alexander.

Beruff, who grew up poor in Miami, is a multi-millionaire who in 1984 started Medallion Homes, which is now one of the biggest residential land development companies in Manatee County. He has never held elective office, but over the last six years has been increasing his political stock on local and state government boards. He’s been a member of the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority, the Southwest Florida Water Management District Board and the State College of Florida Board of Trustees, where his questioning led to dramatic changes in the Manatee County school’s leadership team.

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[Last modified: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 11:39am]


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