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GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis to run for Senate in Florida


U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis of Ponte Vedra Beach plans to run for Marco Rubio's Senate seat in 2016.

The congressman will make an announcement Wednesday, a person close to DeSantis confirmed to the Miami Herald. The plans were first reported by the Associated Press.

DeSantis would become the first major Republican to vie for the seat being vacated by Rubio, who is running for president. Other big GOP names have passed on the campaign, including Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan and Tom Rooney. Still mulling a candidacy are Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, former Attorney General Bill McCollum and Rep. Jeff Miller of the Panhandle.

Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter is the biggest Democratic name in the race, with Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando considering a run (and thinking of having his girlfriend run for his congressional seat, according to Politico).

DeSantis, who was first elected to the U.S. House in 2012, has been openly thinking about the Senate since Rubio launched his presidential campaign last month. He has the encouragement of conservative groups such as the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, a political action committee that in an April statement called DeSantis "exactly the kind of Republican we need in the Florida Senate race."