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Rep. Miller won't seek Florida Senate seat

Rep. Miller won't seek Florida Senate seat
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jeff Miller said Thursday he won’t jump into the crowded GOP primary race to succeed Florida Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioJeb Bush calls for Broward County official to be removed from post Florida Dem rep: Scott is 'spinning conspiracy theories' Gillum retracts concession in Florida governor's race MORE, saying he wants to continue his work reforming the “toxic culture” at the Veterans Affairs Department.

For weeks, Miller had been telling his House colleagues he would run for the open Senate seat. Roll Call reported last month that Miller had already made up his mind to join the race and would announce his candidacy soon.

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But Miller had denied that report. And in a lengthy statement Thursday, he said he still had much to do in his role as chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. His VA reform bill cleared the House on Wednesday, though President Obama has threatened a veto.

“My personal commitment to the veterans of this country is greater than my desire to seek higher office,” said Miller, who is in his final term as VA chairman. “I have made the determination that I can best serve veterans as Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and the member from the First District of Florida. 

“I have decided to forgo my candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2016 and instead continue my efforts to reform the toxic culture within the VA.”

The GOP Senate primary was already getting crowded. Reps. Ron DeSantis and David Jolly had joined the race, as had Lt. Gov. Carlos López-Cantera.

Reps. Patrick Murphy and Alan GraysonAlan Mark GraysonFlorida's Darren Soto fends off Dem challenge from Alan Grayson Live results: Arizona and Florida hold primaries The Hill's Morning Report: Frustration mounts as Republicans blow up tax message MORE are running in the Democratic primary.

Rubio is leaving the Senate after just one term as he runs for the White House.

Also on Thursday, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Energy: GM proposes electric car mandate | Deadline nears for EPA car rule comments | Greens change tactics to mobilize climate voters California won't enforce net neutrality law as DOJ halts lawsuit Dems divided over Pelosi's 'transitional' Speaker pitch MORE said he would pass up a chance to run for the California Senate seat being vacated by fellow Democrat Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerFormer Dem aide makes first court appearance on charges of posting GOP senators' info online Ex-House intern charged with 'doxing' GOP senators during Kavanaugh hearing Capitol Police arrest suspect in doxing of GOP senators MORE, who is retiring.