Bill Nelson all but announces 2018 re-election bid for U.S. Senate

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Although Bill Nelson hasn’t officially come out to run for reelection in 2018, he has done nothing to indicate that he won’t be doing so, and yesterday Nelson flat out said he would run again in 2018.

In a statement announcing the departure of longtime chief of staff Pete Mitchell, Nelson wrote, “Pete will pursue opportunities in the private sector and he will begin laying the groundwork for my re-election in 2018.”

Nelson went on to say that Mitchell will be replaced by his Susie Perez Quinn, his legislative director.

Nelson will be 76 come election day in 2018, but the man is in remarkably good shape. He underwent prostate surgery back in July to remove cancer that was detected in a routine check-up.

A month before, Nelson blew away most observers when he did 46 pushups after he lost his bet regarding the outcome of the Stanley Cup to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. Nelson had the Tampa Bay Lightning, who lost to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2.

Nelson has been in political life in Florida for more than four decades. He was first elected to the Florida Legislature in 1972, then served six terms in the U.S. Congress representing Orlando and the Space Coast.

In 1994, Nelson was elected to the Florida Cabinet as state Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner and Fire Marshal.

Nelson was first elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2000, winning an open seat against Republican Bill McCollum. Since then he’s easily won reelection against the likes of Katherine Harris and Connie Mack IV.

(H/t to Politico’s Marc Caputo).

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.