ByÂ BRENT KALLESTAD, Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Wednesday he’ll seek a third term, and that he’s confident he and President Barack Obama will fare well with the state’s voters in 2012 when Florida will have 29 electoral votes in the presidential election.
“I have a great deal of optimism that the president will be re-elected and he will carry Florida,” the 68-year-old Melbourne Democrat told about 120 editors and reporters attending The Associated Press’ annual legislative meeting. “The president is already benefiting by the fact that the people sense the economy is improving. That will continue for him as the economy improves.”
Several Republicans, buoyed by the 2010 election results, are already considering a run against Nelson. They include state Senate President Mike Haridopolos of Merritt Island, U.S. Rep. Connie Mack of Fort Myers, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux of Fort Lauderdale and former state Rep. Adam Hasner of Delray Beach.
Although targeted by Republicans in 2012, Nelson said he was confident.
“My brand of politics is also where Florida is,” said Nelson, noting that he won his first congressional race in 1972 in the face of President Richard Nixon’s runaway win over George McGovern in Florida that year. “I run my own races and we’ll see how it develops.”
Nelson said Obama, who carried Florida in 2008, is on an upward swing with voters after being bogged down early in his presidency by a national recession and a controversial health care bill he pushed through Congress.
“Obama is really stating to ascend in his recognition and appreciation by the people,” Nelson said
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