Lots of Florida pols seem to be running hard these days, but no one really knows for what.
Leading the candidates who aren’t really candidates for anything right now is former House Speaker Marco Rubio.
Rubio has formed an "exploratory committee" to run for U.S. Senate, but he's really treading water until he sees whether Gov. Charlie Crist wants to run for re-election in 2010 or switch to the Senate race.
And with all this coy behavior, Rubio still wants your cash.
Call it donating on faith because so far that’s all supporters have to hold onto right now.
If you want to donate to MarcoRubio.com, you’ll get this ambiguous message: "Please make a contribution to help Marco jumpstart the campaign." The campaign for what? America’s next top model?
Solicitations just don't get much coyer than that.
Those who know him well say Rubio really wants to run for Governor, not the Senate. He's hoping that Crist will do what pundits expect him to do -- escape the lean times and bruising legislative battles in Tallahassee, and get into the race for the seat Mel Martinez is vacating.
If that happens, expect Attorney General Bill McCollum to run for Governor, too.
McCollum's already got a jump on the competition and has been all over TV with publicly-funded ads that are supposed to highlight his office's efforts to combat sexual predators.
Critics say the ads focus mostly on the AG himself (he's on-screen for all 30 seconds). Heightening suspicions that it's really a campaign ad is the fact McCollum hired his political consultant to produce commercials, without competitive bidding. He even spent about 500-bucks of state money on makeup.
But the fun doesn’t stop there.
McCollum’s harshest critic for the ads, Alex Sink, the state’s chief penny-pincher, could also be trying to muscle in on the gubernatorial race. And like the others, she has been covert in her plans.
Sink scolded McCollum in a memo about spending taxpayer money for private gains. She's ostensibly running for re-election as chief financial officer (raising big money at the Star Island home of computer magnate Claudio Osorio over the weekend), but her criticism of McCollum's ad sure sounded like one gubernatorial candidate whacking away at a potential rival.
And it took only hours before Florida's Republican Party chair Jim Greer was whacking back, on McCollum's behalf. Greer argued that Sink authorized spending to produce and air the ads until recently.
"Now, as a potential gubernatorial candidate, she has joined the Florida Democratic Party in an effort to destroy the credibility this effective program (sic) to further her own political agenda,” thundered Greer.
That’s pretty sharp-elbow jockeying in an undeclared Governor's race. And don't expect these big political guns to declare just what they're running for until Gov. Crist makes his intentions known.
Until then, expect Rubio and his ilk to continue asking for your support as they campaign for nothing in particular.