Here Come the Senate Candidates

Katherine Harris is now an official candidate for the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Bill Nelson. The Sarasota congresswoman was in Tallahassee Monday to deliver her qualifying papers and a check to the state Division of Elections.

The latest polls show she is trailing incumbent Bill Nelson by about 30 points in the polls and many of her fellow Republicans are trying to find an alternative.

Harris says that just makes her more determined to pursue the campaign.

“And I’m confident that we will win because people don’t want me to be part of the club and now I can absolutely draw that line in the sand for always. I think Floridians want someone who is going to stand up for them.”

But many GOP leaders are worried that Harris may cost them the U.S. Senate race, and they’re looking for someone to challenge her in the Republican primary.

Gov. Jeb Bush is planning to call House Speaker Allan Bense of Panama City to encourage him to enter the race.

“I’ve expressed my opinion about Speaker Bense and have a lot of respect for him and he’ll make up his own mind, and when he does I believe there will be lots of support for him if he decides to run.”

“Bense for Senate” stickers were all over the state Capitol Friday as the Legislature was wrapping up its work, but Speaker Bense says he hasn’t made any decisions about challenging Harris in the GOP primary.

“The good news is there is a deadline, and I think it’s like next Friday or something like that, so I’ve got a few days to ponder what I’m going to do now.”

Bense has until the end of the week to make up his mind. U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, the man to beat in the race, also filed for re-election at the Secretary of State's Office in Tallahassee Monday.