Tea party star Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., would not completely rule out a Senate run during an interview with West Palm Beach-based WPTV-TV, saying "the door is cracked very slightly" on launching a bid to challenge Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.
The GOP primary field in Florida has been in a state of uncertainty since state Senate President Mike Haridopolos unexpectedly dropped out of the race in mid-July.
Since Haridopolos' departure, environmental consultant Nick Loeb has been expressing interest in the race, and there has been speculation regarding a possible Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., candidacy as well. And after dropping out, Haridopolos mentioned a number of candidates he hoped might jump in, a list that included West along with former Gov. Jeb Bush and Reps. Connie Mack IV and Jeff Miller.
While former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner and former Sen. George LeMieux are the most prominent candidates in the current field, a recent poll that had ret. Army Col. Mike McCalister leading the field shows how wide-open this race still is.
West's House district
, which covers most of the Atlantic coasts of Broward and Palm Beach counties but also twists and turns to gobble up Republican-leaning territory, was described by the Almanac of American Politics as "a testament to the advances in redistricting software." Republicans drew the lines in 2000 to create a palatable district for then-Rep. Clay Shaw
The district was nonetheless claimed by Democrats in 2006 until West won it back in 2010. But with Florida voters in 2010 also approving the Fair Districts amendments designed to eliminate gerrymandering, West may find that there is no congressional district in south Florida that shares his conservative Republican ideology. The entire process is dominated by uncertainty: Reps. Corrine Brown
, D-Fla., and Mario Diaz-Balart
, R-Fla., are suing to prevent the amendments from taking effect, and Democrats currently don't trust Republicans in the state legislature to abide by the newly-approved amendments (Republicans control both chambers of the state House and the governorship).
In other words, considering his fundraising prowess and national profile, West may actually find a Senate run easier than a bid to return to the House in 2013, especially considering the relative weakness of the GOP field thus far.