Given the speculations on the field of potential GOP candidates for President in the 2016 election, it might be easy to overlook the potential ramifications of certain hats being thrown into the ring. The name of Marco Rubio keeps popping up as a potential GOP offering, and he doesn’t seem to be saying “No” to the possibility. If Rubio decides to make the run for the Presidency, that choice makes for some interesting ramifications, not the smallest of which is “Which candidate will fill the seat he leaves?” as Senator Rubio has made it clear in that he would not seek a re-election to senate if he decides to run for America’s Top Job.
There are an abundance of potential candidates who might make a bid for the Senate seat, Adam Putnam, Pam Bondi, Will Weatherford, even current state senator Jack Latvala (although such a move might actually be a step down for the stalwart Florida senator). However, beyond all the other potentials and possibles, is the name “Jeff Atwater”. Like Rubio, Atwater served in the Florida House of Representatives before moving into higher office, and where Rubio went on to the U.S. Senate, Atwater served in the Florida Senate, eventually moving into the position of Chief Financial Officer.
Atwater’s name is also on the short list as a candidate on the Republican ticket for the next gubernatorial race, but Atwater has always been a long view politician, and given that Adam Putnam is also on that same gubernatorial short list, it is likely that Atwater would support Putnam, and step into the Senate race instead.
Atwater has always stood strong on his fiscal policy positions, as well as standing firm on common-sense Republican ideals, but he has shown that he is not afraid of disagreeing with the Republican Party electeds when getting to the bottom of an issue – an attitude that should be applauded and encouraged in a party that puts such a significant emphasis on “transparency” and “truthfulness” in government.
According to Former Chairman of the Broward Republican Executive Committee, Richard DeNapoli, “Atwater definitely stands out as a top-tier candidate with a proven fundraising ability as well as good record of accomplishment in the Florida Senate and as CFO. ”
The race for the White House still may seem a long way off to voters (one of whom stated jokingly “Didn’t we JUST get done with an election?!”), but with Senator Marco Rubio giving significant signs of a run for the Presidency, the 2016 race is really just around the corner. Mr. DeNapoli stated it well by saying “You should always be prepared for the unexpected in Florida politics – it’s still anybody’s game…”. It will be interesting to watch what shakes out. While there are numerous speculative GOP candidate names that have been bandied about as potential GOP successors to Rubio, it may be that CFO Jeff Atwater is the best answer to keep that U.S. Senate seat for the GOP. At least that’s the way that I see it, hopefully you do too!