Charlie Crist might be back on the Florida ballot once again.
The former Florida governor, who lost his Republican-turned-Independent bid for Senate in 2010 and then fell short in his comeback attempt as a Democrat in last year’s gubernatorial race, is now considering running for Senate in 2016, an adviser to the governor told CNN on Wednesday.
“It’s very early, but he’s being encouraged to seriously consider bringing the people’s voice to the U.S. Senate,” Crist adviser Kevin Cate said. “And he always listens closely to Floridians.”
Crist has been “making calls” about the Senate race to Democrats and financial supporters in recent weeks, two Florida Democratic sources said.
But Cate’s comment is the first on-the-record signal from the Crist orbit that he might mount another statewide bid.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who defeated Crist in 2010, is up for re-election in 2016 but is likely to run for the Republican presidential nomination.
Ever since he quit the Republican Party in 2010 after his Senate bid flat-lined in a GOP primary against Rubio, critics have ridiculed Crist as a finger-in-the-wind political shape-shifter.
But even with his perma-candidate reputation, Crist mounted another credible campaign as a Democrat in 2014 against Florida Gov. Rick Scott, narrowly losing to the incumbent despite being massively outspent on television in a midterm year that saw low turnout among Democrats.
If Crist runs, he would likely not be alone in the Democratic field. Several Democrats in Florida are considering Senate runs, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, and Rep. Patrick Murphy.
Reps. Alan Grayson, Kathy Castor and Gwen Graham have also been mentioned as possible candidates on the Democratic side.
But among the Democrats eyeing a run, only Crist would be able to hit the ground running immediately with name recognition, statewide campaign experience and national fundraising connections.