Florida Republican Rep. Allen West ended speculation that he would challenge Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in a statement released Monday.
West was discussed as a possible Senate candidate in part because he may face difficult re-election prospects in his South Florida district.
“Over the last several weeks, numerous leaders of the Florida Republican Party, including current and past elected officials, have spoken to me about the race for the United States Senate,” West said in the statement. “Out of respect, I was willing to listen.”
The freshman congressman said that despite lobbying efforts, “I believe the place where I can best effect the needed change is from the People’s House – the House of Representatives.” (RELATED: Rep. Allen West: I’m ‘the modern-day Harriet Tubman’)
“I will not seek the Republican nomination for the United States Senate in 2012,” West declared. “With regard to my future, the only goal I have is to do my very best to represent the constituents of the Congressional District and to restore the exceptionalism of our nation.”
West defeated former Democratic Rep. Ron Klein with approximately 54 percent of the vote in 2010. In 2008, West lost to Klein by a similar margin.
The Cook Political Report has deemed West one of the top ten Republicans vulnerable due to redistricting, anticipating that his congressional district will become more Democratic ahead of 2012.
West’s likely Democratic challenger is former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel. A statement on Frankel’s campaign website declares West “a deeply partisan opponent of Medicare.” The district has a large retired population.
The Hill reports that West retains a massive fundraising advantage over Frankel. In the second quarter of this year, Frankel raised $440,000 and West’s brought in $1.5 million.