As Miami Herald political writer Marc Caputo aptly put it, West has given Florida Republicans 1.5 million reasons why he might be the GOP's best candidate.
As Crowley Political Report noted recently, this stage of the U.S. senate race is all about money. During the 3 month period ending June 30, West raised $1.5 million for his campaign to win reelection to Florida's 22nd congressional district. Toss in the $433,000 West raised during the first three months of the year and he has collected nearly $2 million.
Politics is about money and timing. West has said he is not interested in running for the senate but money and timing suggest there may be no better time than now for the former Army Lt. Colonel.
Republicans love West. Tea Party activists love West. Rush Limbaugh loves West. Conservative independents love West. And most Democrats loathe him.
If you get West, you get someone who doesn't pull his punches and leans extreme. That might not sell in any other election cycle but right now, in the Tea Party controlled Florida Republican Party, extreme sells.
Should West decide to run for the U.S. Senate, much of the GOP field will collapse shortly after his announcement.
Compare West's $1.5 million in the last quarter to the money raised by the existing U.S. Senate candidates - Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos' $900,000, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux's $950,000, and former House Majority Leader Adam Hasner's $560,000.
Could West defeat Nelson?
Nelson will not be easy for any Republican to defeat. For now, the more interesting political question is whether West will be convinced by his supporters to take a chance on running for GOP senate nomination.
In Florida, anything can happen.
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