Allan Bense Announces Decision; Locals React

By: Dana Arquilla
By: Dana Arquilla

To some, it may be disappointing news that Allan Bense decided to not run for the U.S. Senate, but not to those who know him best.

Charlie Hilton, a friend and business partner, said, "Well, I was relieved. I thought he had made the best decision for himself, his family, and everybody concerned."

Bense has been away from his Panama City home for the past eight years while serving as a state representative and as speaker of the House.

After considering running against Katherine Harris on the Republican ticket, and ultimately against Bill Nelson, he decided and backed out, even with pressure from the higher ups.

Gov. Jeb Bush said "I'm disappointed because I think he would have been a very good candidate, with a chance of beating the incumbent."

Many locals have their own opinion of the home-grown politician's decision.

Sophia Bright, a Bay County resident, said, "I don't blame Allan Bense for taking time to be with his family instead of politics, because sometimes you have to put off what you want to do to get right."

Jean Barnes added, "We think he's done a wonderful job and we know he would do a wonderful job, but we also understand sometimes there's things more important."

And he's got support from the people that matter most.

Charlie Hilton said, "All of us who love him urged him to seriously consider all these factors, but we never tried to talk him in or out of it, because in the final analysis, it had to be his decision.

His decision is final. He's staying home. Bense says he'll talk publicly about his decision Thursday.

So far only three candidates have qualified for the Senate race so far: Democrat Bill Nelson, Republican Katherine Harris and write-in candidate Bernard Senter from Miami.


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