By Bob Cusack
Sean Hannity this week said he is thinking about running for office, but for the past couple of months, he brushed off such a possibility as a joke.
Asked for comment at the time, Hannity said he was just "joking," according to a source close to Hannity. The source repeated the "joking" claim again earlier this week.
But on Tuesday night, Hannity said on-air he might run for office in Texas or Florida. The conflicting statements raise questions about whether Hannity is serious about running.
Hannity could have wanted to break the news on his own terms, but GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill have said they hadn't heard a word about the conservative's political ambitions. It also remains unclear what office Hannity would seek. Any statewide bid would be challenging, especially in a general election in the tossup state of Florida.
Any time a television personality says he or she might run for office, critics suggest that the real motivation could be television ratings. That barb has been repeatedly directed at Donald Trump, who refuses to rule out a run for president.
A Hannity run for public office in any state other than his hometown New York would open him up to "carpetbagger" criticism — a term he has used to describe Hillary Clinton.
We emailed Hannity directly and will update this blog if he responds.