Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced Friday that she's not running for the U.S. Senate, opening the door to a crop of lesser-known contenders.
Sink, the only statewide officeholder on the Democratic shortlist, was seen as the party's strongest contender for the seat to be vacated by Mel Martinez in 2010. She was being recruited by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and Emily's List, a national fundraising group that backs female candidates.
''Over the past several weeks, I have given serious and careful thought to my own future and, more importantly, to the future of our state,'' Sink said in a news release. ``And I am extremely grateful for the support and advice so many friends and fellow Floridians have shared. I believe my skills and abilities are of greatest use here in Florida, where I am honored to serve as chief financial officer. And I will run for reelection as chief financial officer to continue being a fiscal watchdog on behalf of the people of Florida.''
Sink's decision means she is likely to pursue her real ambition, which is to run for governor -- most likely in 2014 when term limits will force Charlie Crist to step down.
So far, Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami is the only declared candidate for the open Senate seat, but announcements are imminent from Democratic state Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach and former House Speaker Marco Rubio of Miami, a Republican.
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