Breaking news this afternoon: Allen West is running for Congress. He will run for re-election for his Congressional seat instead of jumping into the Senate race.
He left the door cracked open, but on Monday slammed it shut.
Florida Rep. Allen West said he'll run for his 22nd Congressional District seat next year, closing the door on a race for U.S. Senate even months before the redistricting process is complete.
"I will not seek the Republican nomination for the United States Senate in 2012. With regard to my future, the only goal I have is to do my very best to represent the constituents of the Congressional District and to restore the exceptionalism of our nation," West said in a statement.
The controversial first-term freshman Republican said he had been contacted by GOP leaders about the race over the past few weeks and "out of respect, I was willing to listen."
But after traveling his district and speaking to his constituents, he said he decided, "there is still so much to accomplish for our country."
"I believe the place where I can best effect the needed change is from the People's House - the House of Representatives," he said. "I have been given one of the highest honors to serve in the House of Representatives and I will continue to serve the citizens in that capacity."
Reality check: Being a United States Senator sounds fun. However, actually running statewide in our gigantic state with all of our highly expensive media markets is less fun.
I've talked with a number of candidates and campaign consultants who have done statewide races in Florida in recent years, and it is insanely exhausting. Even in the best case scenario when you have enough funds to have a private plane and cars waiting at airports, you are still driving for hours and fighting traffic on I-4 or I-95, living in hotel rooms and eating an awful lot of rubber chicken. You can't run your business and your kids may forget what you look like. It's brutal, it's expensive, and it's impossible to be successful unless you are 100% committed to doing it full-time.
Note: this is not meant as a slam on Allen West. No way. I love the guy. It's meant to be a splash of cold reality for the media hacks, failed candidates, and salivating consultants hoping for the paycheck from running a self-funder statewide who keep churning out these fantasies of some magical unicorn of a candidate who will jump into the race.