State Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, today ended his bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, concluding he didn't have the needed "fire in the belly" to run for Congress.
Bennett, who last month announced a bid to unseat Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, said he was overwhelmed by support he had identified across the district. But "I quickly realized that the 'fire' I was feeling was heartburn over constant fundraising, travel and the other demands of running for federal office," Bennett said in a statement.
“Watching all that is going on in Washington and knowing the constant fight that is required to make a difference there, I have decided to no longer pursue my bid for Congress."
Bennett does not currently live in the 13th Congressional District, which does include part of Manatee County. Bennett was hoping that congressional redistricting next year would take in more of Manatee and offer him a reasonable chance of winning the GOP nomination and unseating Castor. Bennett also said he would consider moving into the district, if necessary, although state law would not require him to do so.
Bennett said he was looking forward to fishing and travel when his current term in the Florida Senate ends at the end of 2012. He cannot run for re-election because of term limits.
“Let me be clear. Is this the end of my life in politics?" Bennett quipped. "You all know me better than that.”