Florida House Speaker Allan Bense has announced that he will not challenge Rep. Katherine Harris for the GOP Senate nomination. This virtually assures the GOP of a lost opportunity down in Florida.
Harris is a disaster, but fundraising sources we've talk to, who know Bense's thinking in the matter, say that his decision had less to do with the mess that Harris has made of the race against Sen. Bill Nelson, and more to do with Bense's concerns in general about the state of the Republican Party nationally.
Bense's public statement cites family concerns. But we're hearing that Bense was also concerned about the Republican Party's commitment to pushing him over the top, and then challenging a well-financed and well-rested Nelson. "You got the sense that the RNC thought that Allen would run and that they could leave him alone to fight this out successfully," says one source we talked to earlier today. "Coming into the race this late, he would have needed a lot more help. It wasn't clear given all the other things Republicans are trying to do nationally and in other races that he would have gotten the help he needed."