Former Ruth's Chris CEO Craig Miller dropped his GOP Senate bid in Florida today, announcing he would instead run for Congress in the northern coastal district likely to be numbered as the 6th.
In a map likely to be similar to the final product signed into law, the district includes 72 percent of Rep. John Mica's current district, though Mica's house was drawn out.
In Florida political circles, Miller's announcement raised questions about Mica's future. But the Transportation and Infrastructure chairman's office said he is running for an 11th term and waiting for the final map to be passed before making a decision about what district he is running in.
"He is running again," Mica Chief of Staff Wiley Deck said. "The decision on where he's going to run has not been made." Deck noted redistricting is not yet complete in the Sunshine State.
Miller, a businessman with a long restaurant-sector résumé, had trouble connecting in his bid to take on Sen. Bill Nelson (D).
“There are several very qualified candidates in the U.S. Senate race to represent our party, some with more name recognition and resources than our campaign," Miller said in a statement. "Therefore, I have chosen to shift my focus to serving the people of the new Coastal District."
Miller's press secretary told Roll Call the campaign had about $100,000 that could be transferred to the House race.
Mica was unopposed in the 2010 GOP primary and won the general with 69 percent of the vote. He will report about $860,000 in cash on hand at the end of December, Deck said. Along with incumbency, Mica's bankroll would make him a strong favorite in any primary.