Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) is considering a run against Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonHow will Biden's Afghanistan debacle impact NASA's Artemis return to the moon? Biden to talk Russia, anti-corruption with Ukraine's president Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos wages lawfare on NASA and SpaceX MORE (D-Fla.).
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, West said Monday that he has "cracked" the door open to a possible bid.
"I cracked it open enough so that people can slip a note under the door and I can read the note and I can write back on the note 'probably not' and send it back out under the door," West said before he spoke to a Palm Beach County Tea Party gathering. "There are people here in the state of Florida that see me as a political entity and they are very trustworthy within the Republican Party structure. I should sit down and talk to them. ... But I don't think people are really going to be able to move me."
West had earlier said he definitely would not pursue the seat, but the GOP field thus far has failed to excite Republicans.
A recent poll of GOP voters by Quinnipiac University showed a large majority had yet to align behind a candidate, with the presumptive front-runners, former Sen. George LeMieux (Fla.) and former Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, trailing largely unknown candidates like former Army Col. Mike McCalister and former Ruth's Chris Steakhouse CEO Craig Miller.
Hasner and LeMieux both have records that are not ardently conservative, leaving an opening for a strong right-wing candidate like West to jump in the race.
The Palm Beach congressman raised $1.5 million in the last three months for his reelection to the House, more than any of the Senate candidates raised for a statewide race.
He also could have a tough time winning reelection to the House, depending on how redistricting plays out in the state. His current swing district was gerrymandered to be as Republican as the area's demographics allowed, but Florida's new redistricting laws require lawmakers not to take in partisanship when drawing the lines. The state is also adding two new House seats for the next election, meaning all districts will have to shrink and it will be difficult to connect the two most heavily Republican parts of his district in a new map.
West will likely have to run for a more Democratic seat than the one he now holds. His current district gave President Obama 52 percent of the vote in 2008. If he stays in the House race, he will face a well-funded challenger: Both West Palm Beach Mayor Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelDemocrats repeal prohibition on funding abortions abroad Investing in child care paves the way to a better economy Democrats introduce equal pay legislation for US national team athletes MORE (D) and businessman Patrick Murphy (D) raised more than $400,000 in the last three months.
This might make a Senate bid more attractive — if West calculates a run for higher office will be easier, he could make the move.