A new poll suggests he would be the frontrunner, but U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan told the Bradenton Herald this week he is inclined to stay in the U.S. House and not enter the race to be the Republican nominee who faces off against incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.
"I'm focused on what I'm doing," Buchanan said in an interview with editors at the Herald, referring especially to his seat as the only member from Florida on the powerful Ways and Means Committee.
Buchanan did not completely rule out running for the Senate, saying he would take a closer look at the race at the end of the year. Among the considerations, he admitted, would be whether he would be willing to exchange the prestige that comes with his spot on Ways and Means -- which allows Buchanan a voice on a wide range of issues from taxes to health care to trade -- for a minimal amount of seniority in the Senate.
Another consideration might be whether Buchanan thinks he can beat Nelson -- a prospect the poll results do not suggest.
In a possible head-to-head matchup, Nelson beat Buchanan 45 percent to 35 percent, with the remainder undecided.