Despite the rumors, Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, won’t be jumping into the GOP Senate primary any time soon, according to statements made by those close to him to the St. Petersburg Times.
From the Times:
The chatter and speculation about Vern Buchanan preparing for a U.S. Senate run has been widespread since Mike Haridopolos dropped out of the race. Forget it. The people we’ve talked to in Buchanan world say talk of an imminent announcement by Buchanan is nonsense.
It’s not that he’s completely ruled it out, but the Sarasota Republican’s personal wealth – estimated at up to $366 million – allows him plenty of time to start mounting a campaign. He’s likely to make a final decision no earlier than the end of the year.
It had been widely speculated that Buchanan would enter the 2012 Senate race, and the rumor mill continued to churn after a tweet from campaign expert Larry Sabato, which said: “FL SEN: Looks like Rep. Vern Buchanan(R) may run. His wealth is big plus in split field. Controversial but engaging. Wide open primary now.”
Buchanan has lately been subject to controversy due to allegations that he orchestrated a scheme in which donations made to his 2006 and 2008 campaigns were reimbursed with funds from a car dealership he owned at the time. Last Friday, The Florida Independent released a deposition made by his former business partner Sam Kazran. In it, Kazran accuses Buchanan of pressuring employees into donating to his campaigns, with the promise that they would see their donation returned.