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Gelber out of U.S. Senate race

by Dara Kam | May 31st, 2009

Florida Democrats appear to be spared a costly primary election for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez.

State Sen. Dan Gelber has dropped out of the race against U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, who’s already collected more than $1 million in campaign contributions.

“It makes little sense — when we do face the prospect of real change in Florida — for me to participate in a potentially divisive primary for U.S. Senate that will only serve to diminish our chances against a very formidable and well-known Republican nominee,” Gelber, D-Miami Beach, said in a message posted on Facebook.

Republicans so far still have a potentially divisive primary on their hands. Former House Speaker Marco Rubio is still in the race against Gov. Charlie Crist despite Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer’s endorsement of the governor.

Democrats, too, want to avoid costly and potentially politically damaging primaries, as Gelber said to his supporters on a Facebook posting.

Gelber’s expressed an interested in running for attorney general, along with fellow senator Dave Aronberg of Greenacres and former state senator Rod Smith. Gelber’s name is also being tossed around as a possible running mate with CFO Alex Sink, who is likely to be the Democratic candidate for governor.
Read Gelber’s message after the jump.

As you may know I have decided to step back from my U.S. Senate bid. I wanted to let you know the reasons.

When Governor Crist announced he would be a candidate for US Senate, he created a domino effect that opened up every seat on the cabinet. At a time when our state is facing its greatest challenges, ironically, we have our greatest uncertainty and dislocation. But I believe this is also an opportunity – the chance to set a new course that avoids the mistakes of the past and tracks a better future for our families.

It makes little sense — when we do face the prospect of real change in Florida — for me to participate in a potentially divisive primary for U.S. Senate that will only serve to diminish our chances against a very formidable and well-known Republican nominee.

I also believe that we have a historic opportunity here in Florida to reshape the political landscape and more importantly, bring fundamental change to Tallahassee. I have had a number of conversations with Senators Graham and Nelson, and CFO Alex Sink, about how we can best unify our party and move forward with a slate of candidates that can communicate our vision for a better Florida, and I look forward to continuing these discussions. I would like to hear your thoughts as you have been a good supporter and friend, and I value your opinion. You can reach me at dan@dangelber.com.

Thanks again.

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2 Responses to “Gelber out of U.S. Senate race”

  1. disgusted taxpayer Says:

    Dan Gelber is one of the most principled and most intelligent elected officials in the state. He is much more sophisticated and solutions oriented than Kendrick Meek, having a law degree and worked as a prosecutor, among his many accomplishments. It is too bad the money backed Kendrick — Dan Gelber would have made a phenomenal US Senator.

  2. TampaBLAB » Blog Archive » Thinking about Kendrick Meek, the Myth of Sisyphus and whether Dan Gelber regrets dropping out of the US Senate race Says:

    [...] a snowed-over North Carolina. This led me to further wonder if Steve has any second thoughts about Senator Dan Gelber’s decision to cede the Democratic nomination for the US Senate seat to Congressma….At the time when Gelber withdrew from the Senate race to run for Attorney General, the act appeared [...]

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