Hasn't Jeff Atwater been itchin' to run this entire election cycle?

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When supporters of uber developer and former State Senator Pat Neal let it be known that he was looking to make a return to electoral politics, it was assumed Neal was interested in returning to the Senate, even if it’s been many, many years since he last served.

But if you talked to those really close to Neal, or maybe even Neal himself, they’d tell you that it wasn’t the State Senate which Neal had his eyes on, but the Office of Chief Financial Officer.

Smarter than most of his own advisers, Neal was ready to lay a few hedge bets that current CFO Jeff Atwater would not be around to run for re-election in 2014.

There were whispers, especially when Governor Rick Scott’s approval rating was less than four touchdowns, that Atwater would primary Scott — a rumor Atwater’s camp strongly denied.

Still, hasn’t it appeared like Jeff Atwater’s been itchin’ to run for something this election cycle?

He opened up a campaign account in July, thirtysomething months before he’s up for re-election. After that, he made a splash at Presidency 5, the Florida GOP’s presidential straw poll event.

And, according to the latest campaign finance reports, Atwater has moved almost $100K of consulting and campaign services through the RPOF for, again, a campaign that is two years away.

(By the way, have you noticed all of the tough-on-crime press releases coming from the CFO’s office? Very Elliot Spitzer, before the hookers, of course.)

If it looks like a duck, smells like a duck and quacks like a duck, Jeff Atwater wants to run for something.

And why not? Atwater’s a proven winner, having taken out Bob Butterworth, served as Senate President and coasted into the CFO’s office.

So today’s news, that Atwater is taking a hard look at the US Senate race, should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.