Now that U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis is running for the open U.S. Senate seat, he becomes one of the first Republicans to enter what is likely to be one of the most competitive races of the 2016 election cycle.
State Rep. Fred Costello, an Ormond Beach Republican who recently returned to Tallahassee for House District 25, responded Wednesday that he would not run for Congress to replace Ron DeSantis. In 2012, Costello lost to DeSantis in a crowded Republican primary.
“I came in second out of seven when I ran in 2012 and remain passionate about the need to restore American values and re-establish States’ Rights. Many friends, colleagues, patients and media representatives have contacted me asking if I am planning to run for U.S. Congress,” Costello said in a statement.
“While I believe I am well positioned to be competitive in the Congressional race, I have decided that I can best serve Floridians by remaining in the Florida House of Representatives.”
Costello’s choice for the Senate is former U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams, who won in the Tea Party wave of 2010, only to lose to U.S. Rep. John Mica two years later after redistricting put them both in the same district.
“Sandy is a proven leader who can take the baton from Congressman DeSantis and hit the ground running as our Congresswoman, Costello said. “She will be a passionate voice for conservative values, for upholding our Constitution with an emphasis on States’ Rights and will bring common sense solutions to Washington, D.C.”
DeSantis, the two-term member who is a favorite of the Tea Party and other conservative groups, said he was encouraged to run after Marco Rubio announced he would vacate the Senate seat to campaign for president. DeSantis’ candidacy opens up Florida’s 6th Congressional District, a heavily Republican seat based in the Daytona Beach area.
“America needs a new generation of leaders to address the big issues facing the country,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Alleviating the middle-class squeeze and promoting economic opportunity, confronting the significant national security challenges threatening the safety of our people, and reforming the culture of Washington, DC.”
As a candidate for Senate, DeSantis said he would push for reforms based on “limited government principles that will make our country stronger and more prosperous.”
Although President Obama carried Florida twice, it was by narrow margins each time. Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates the race a Tossup.