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Scarborough for Senate? GOP Courts MSNBC Host for Fla. Race

Republicans in Washington are reportedly working to recruit MSNBC host Joe Scarborough to challenge Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in a 2012 Senate showdown.

The Hill reports:

Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), told The Hill on Thursday that he has talked to Scarborough a couple times about a Senate bid. And he indicated he’s still working on persuading the MSNBC host to run for the upper chamber.

“I’d be delighted to talk to him a third time,” Cornyn said. ...

Cornyn noted on Thursday that Scarborough’s name ID is higher now than it was back then. Scarborough has been with MSNBC for the past eight years, initially hosting “Scarborough Country” and now “Morning Joe.”

Scarborough is happy with what he is doing, Cornyn stressed. But Cornyn also made it clear that he thinks there is a chance Scarborough could run.

There has been speculation that Scarborough may launch a 2012 presidential bid or be a vice presidential candidate. Scarborough, a former House member, has not ruled out running for another political office. He will turn 48 next month.

Scarborough has not yet weighed in on the speculation over a possible political future.  Meanwhile, state Senate President Mike Haridopolos is launched a campaign for the Republican nomination, but has been weighed down by early ethics violation charges.

Other possible Republican candidates include former Sen. George LeMieux, Reps. Connie Mack and Vern Buchanan and former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner. Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) has also been mentioned.

The incumbent, Sen. Nelson, is facing an uphill reelection battle as his polling popularity has dipped below the 50 percent threshold.

The GOP will be looking to pick up a number of seats as Democrats try to defend 23 seats next year compared to just 10 up for grabs under Republican control.

Scarborough would be a unique pick to run for Florida's Senate seat after conservative and tea party favorite Marco Rubio sprinted to victory last fall.  In contrast, Scarborough has been a vocal critic of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, in addition to popular conservative radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

One last thing…
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