WASHINGTON (CNN) – Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is not ruling out a run for the Senate in 2010, but for now is focusing all of his attention on the legislative session, a top ally tells CNN.
“The governor is not closing the door, but he is not necessarily opening it,” Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer said in an interview this afternoon. “He is focused on being governor and focused on solving the challenges that Floridians are facing right now.”
Greer said that Crist “enjoys being the governor,” and “at times he is a little frustrated with D.C., like all Americans.”
Still, the lure of Washington might be enough to convince Crist to run for the Senate in 2010. His entry into the race would be embraced by Senate Republicans, who are concerned that they could lose the seat that is now held by retiring GOP Sen. Mel Martinez.
Crist had a 65 percent approval rating in the latest Quinnipiac University poll, released last month.
A Washington-based Republican strategist tells CNN that the governor has had some conversations with National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn about his own entry into the race. But the strategist emphasized that there is an expectation Crist will take a pass on a Senate run.
“If he runs, he wins,” said the strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But the conventional thinking continues to be that he is running for re-election as governor.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush decided last month against running for the seat.
A story posted on the Web site of the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call Monday suggested that Martinez is considering resigning early from his seat and that Crist is looking at a run. A Martinez spokesman told CNN Monday that “nothing’s changed” and an early exit is “not on the table.”
Greer dismissed any speculation that Crist would consider appointing himself to the seat if Martinez left the Senate before his term expired.
“He has too much respect for the electorate and the appointment process and would not consider appointing himself to a Senate vacancy,” Greer said.
So far, several state lawmakers and congressmen from both parties are considering or have already announced runs for the Senate seat.