William March, (WMarchTBO)
TAMPA — In case anyone was still wondering, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson is taking himself out of contention as a possible candidate in the race for governor of Florida.
Nelson’s decision could free up money for likely Democratic nominee Charlie Crist. At least some of the state’s top Democratic fundraisers and donors, who have been loyal to Nelson for years while Crist was still a Republican, have been holding off on getting involved in the governor’s race because of the possibility that Nelson might enter.
In the last couple of weeks, Nelson and top aides have called several of his key supporters to tell them he won’t be a candidate.
Most of those who got the calls won’t talk about it on the record – they say they don’t want to pre-empt Nelson’s own public statements concerning his political plans.
“It is my understanding that he has now ruled out running for governor due to the complexities and restraints of the campaign finance laws,” said one of those key backers, Ormond Beach insurance executive Charles Lydecker.
Lydecker didn’t want to say how he got that message, but said it was “unambiguous.”
Nelson and his staff, meanwhile, say nothing has changed from his previous contention that he has “no plans and no intention” to try to switch from Washington to Tallahassee.
“Nothing has changed,” in fact, was Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin’s comment on the reports of calls made by Nelson.