Former Gov. Jeb Bush is calling and e-mailing supporters today to tell them that he is not running for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated in 2010 by Mel Martinez.
His e-mail says: "While I will always have more than fond memories of my years in public office and was humbled by the outpouring of support I received over the last few weeks, now is not my time to be running for office. To sum it up, in the words of Dr. Stephen Covey, I have decided to put First Things First. I will continue to stay involved in the advocacy of a vibrant, growing Republican Party and with it, 21st Century conservative solutions to the challenges we face."
Bush's decision will disappoint legions of Florida Republicans, who saw him as the closest thing to a guarantee of keeping the seat in GOP hands.
Now the the floodgates will open for a slew of potential candidates, including House Speaker Marco Rubio, Attorney General Bill McCollum, and U.S. Rep. Connie Mack.