Florida: Democrats Want to Ply Craft Against Rooney

Posted July 27, 2009 at 6:33pm

After being rebuffed by their top choice, Democrats are close to recruiting St. Lucie County Commissioner Chris Craft (D) into the race against freshman Rep. Tom Rooney (R).

Craft told the Palm Beach Post in Sunday’s edition that he’s “leaning— toward entering the race and should make a final decision within a few weeks.

“There are still a couple of pieces of the puzzle that we’re trying to put together,— Craft told the paper.

Democratic operatives in Washington, D.C., say Craft has been reaching out to them and is starting to put together a campaign apparatus. Craft, 36, has been on the county commission for five years.

Initially, national and local Democratic leaders were trying to convince state Sen. Dave Aronberg (D) to challenge Rooney, but he opted instead to run for attorney general in 2010.

The previous two incumbents in the swing 16th district, then-Reps. Mark Foley (R) and Tim Mahoney (D), were undone by personal scandal. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) topped President Barack Obama by 5 points there in the 2008 White House election.