Although Bill Nelson hasn’t officially come out to run for re-election in 2018, he has done nothing to indicate that he won’t be doing so, and Monday Nelson flat out said he would run again in 2018.
In a statement announcing the departure of longtime chief of staff Pete Mitchell, Nelson wrote, “Pete will pursue opportunities in the private sector and he will begin laying the groundwork for my re-election in 2018.”
Nelson went on to say that Mitchell will be replaced by Susie Perez Quinn, his legislative director.
Nelson will be 76 come election day in 2018, but he’s in remarkably good physical condition. He underwent prostate surgery in July to remove cancer that was detected in a routine check-up.
A month before, Nelson blew away most observers when he did 46 pushups after he lost his bet regarding the outcome of the Stanley Cup to Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin. Nelson had the Tampa Bay Lightning, who lost to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2.
Nelson has been in political life in Florida for more than four decades. He was first elected to the Florida Legislature in 1972, then served six terms in the U.S. Congress representing Orlando and the Space Coast.
In 1994, Nelson was elected to the Florida Cabinet as state Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner and Fire Marshal.
Nelson was first elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2000, winning an open seat against Republican Bill McCollum. Since then he’s easily won re-election against the likes of Katherine Harris and Connie Mack IV.
(H/t to Politico’s Marc Caputo).