Looks like it’s time to restart the ‘Will Bill Nelson run for governor?’ chatter

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Charlie Crist leads Rick Scott in all but one published poll and has raised more than $11 million for his gubernatorial campaign, but that just doesn’t seem to be enough to get Senator Bill Nelson to unequivocally declare that will not run for governor in 2014.

Nelson told a group of Daytona Beach business leaders Wednesday he’s tempted to run because he doesn’t like where Florida is headed, reports Skyler Swisher of the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

In remarks to the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, the 71-year-old, three-term senator blasted Gov. Rick Scott and state GOP leaders for turning down federal dollars to establish high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando and provide health care to 1.2 million low-income Floridians.

The decision not to expand Medicaid, a joint state-federal program, means the state is losing $51 billion in federal money over the next decade that could help the uninsured.

“I think it’s not only a shame,” Nelson said during a luncheon at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, “I think it’s a moral abscess.”

Nelson is certainly right about Governor Scott’s failures, but, at this point, he isn’t the candidate best suited to unseat Scott.

Other than some false-starts in the personnel department, Crist is running a strong campaign — a stronger campaign than some critics expected Crist to run.

Also, Crist would handily defeat Nelson in a Democratic primary, the only poll of the match-up shows.

So why doesn’t Nelson just remove any doubt about him entering the race? Is it his ego driving this annoying distraction? Who knows?

But if Nelson is serious about defeating Scott, he needs to rally around the guy with the best chance of doing it — and that’s Charlie Crist.

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.