If he runs for Senate, Florida's Jeb Bush will have a rival

TALLAHASSEE -- Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer, said she's seriously considering running for the U.S. Senate -- even if it means facing former Gov. Jeb Bush in the 2010 elections.

Sink, a Democrat, said she was "pretty close" to deciding not to run for Senate if Sen. Mel Martinez, who announced he wouldn't seek a second term, had decided to run again.

Asked if she were ''seriously considering'' running for office, Sink said: "Of course. Shouldn't I?''

Still, her candidacy is no guarantee. Nor is Bush's. But if the two run, the race will be a battle royale.

Sink is the only Democrat on the state Cabinet and the only woman to hold a statewide post. Bush was the first Republican since Reconstruction to win back-to-back terms as governor and left office with high approval ratings.

Bush's last win, in 2002, came against Sink's husband, Bill McBride, who lost by 12.8 percentage points.

Bush declined to comment about his plans, but told advisors that he's considering a run. Bush supporters, eager to return to the days of Republican dominance in Florida, are establishing web pages urging the former governor to run.

Gov. Charlie Crist, who ran as heir to Bush's legacy, said his predecessor "would be a great candidate and I hope that he runs. . . . I would encourage him to run if that's what he wants to do.''

Asked about Bush's role in her decision to run, Sink said: "The decision for me will be a very personal decision.''