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Jeff Atwater is still not running for U.S. Senate

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After it became clear Marco Rubio wasn’t running for re-election, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater immediately became the odds-on favorite Republican to run for the to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat.

Everything changed, though, after the CFO stunned the Florida political world in April when he said he wouldn’t run for the office. Since then, four lesser-known Republicans: U.S. Reps. David Jolly and Ron DeSantis, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and former CIA contractor Todd Wilcox have all entered the campaign.

Recently there were reports that Atwater was having second thoughts about dropping out, but as George Bennett from The Palm Beach Post reported Thursday, he isn’t.

“As I have said before, I am thrilled and honored to be the CFO of Florida,” Atwater said in a prepared statement to the Post. “Despite the gracious words of encouragement from supporters and friends to once again consider a different path, I still believe the best place for me to serve the people of Florida is as their CFO.”

“I enthusiastically tackle the duties of my office every day and will continue these efforts to make certain government at all levels is held to the highest standard and is accountable to the people it serves.”

Now perhaps Bill McCollum can come out of the shadows and confirm that he, too, won’t be running after all? The former congressman from Oviedo has scored higher in terms of name recognition than any of the declared Republicans in polls earlier this year, prompting McCollum to confess to “looking” at potentially getting into the contest.

But he hasn’t been heard from for months, and we’re now into November, really getting to the nitty gritty, even for a well-known name like McCollum.

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.

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