Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater on Saturday announced he will not be running for the U.S. Senate next year, the seat vacated by Marco Rubio if he launches a White House bid in 2016.
Rubio is expected to announce his presidential campaign in Miami on Monday.
Atwater made the statement on Facebook Saturday afternoon:
“Over the past weeks I have received a tremendous amount of encouragement to consider a run for the United States Senate in 2016. In response, we reached out to many friends around Florida and the country to discuss the direction in which politicians in Washington are taking our Country.
“Universally, these conversations expressed deep concerns over the fiscal train-wreck of our Federal government, the lack of leadership on the world stage and the abandonment of our faithful allies, the bureaucratic stranglehold on our economy that is crushing hardworking middle class Americans, and the disgraceful assault on religious freedom.
“I am most humbled that these conversations included a deep expression of confidence and urging by so many friends that we advance with a candidacy for the United States Senate.
“While I have certainly taken these words of support under consideration, I will not be a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2016. I remain committed to only one endeavor and that is to be the best CFO I can be for the people of Florida.
“This effort was graced with amazing support from across the State of Florida by grassroots activists, donors, and an amazing team who were on this journey with me.
“As an American, and in my capacity as Florida’s CFO I will continue to fight for the foundational principles that gave birth to this country and which have proven beyond any doubt, and with apologies to none, that the United States of America is “…the last best hope on earth.”
As reported by Marc Caputo of POLITICO, Atwater supporters recently launched a super PAC in advance of a possible Senate campaign. Also in the works for this week was a Leadership PAC, which will now be shut down.
Polls from both Quinnipiac University and Mason-Dixon show Atwater as the strongest of possible Republican candidates for Senate. Quinnipiac had him beating the only declared Democratic candidate, Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter, and an even larger lead over liberal favorite Rep. Alan Grayson, who also is considering a Senate run.