June 9, 2011 – Orlando – Florida’s race for the Senate seat currently held by Bill Nelson could be getting some fresh meat. Craig Miller, former CEO of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse has made it clear that he is “seriously considering” mixing it up with Mike Haridopolos, Adam Hasner, and George LeMieux in the Florida Republican Primary for the Senate seat. In an interview with the staff of the pithy and sharp Daily Caller, Miller explained that he had been meeting with National Republican Senatorial Committee, as well as supporters for his potential bid, and is “so far, very, very encouraged”.
Unlike current Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, Former State Representative Adam Hasner, and Former U.S. Senator George LeMieux, Craig Miller does not have a great deal of political experience. His narrowly unsuccessful run for the U.S. House seat in Florida’s 24th District has not, however, lowered the flames of his political aspirations and apparent passion for a business approach to federal governance.
“So many people in Washington think that Washington can create jobs,” said Miller. “Washington can’t create jobs.” He states in the recent Daily Caller interview, citing his business experience as a clear alternative to those currently elected. “I’m a different candidate than the other people in the race. I’m not a career politician … I’m a business person.” Although that statement may be an oft-used cliché, in Millers case it may resonate with the majority of voters. Grassroots groups have been consistently rejecting ‘professional politicians’ and favoring more ‘life experience’ candidates in recent elections.
While his lack of political experience may be viewed as a detriment by some, Craig Miller has been in pressured situations before. He is a veteran of the war in Vietnam, and has been in the top spot of one of the most successful restaurants nationwide well-known for its excellence in service. During the tenure of Jeb Bush as Florida Governor, Miller was also former chairman of the National Restaurant Association, and a commissioner for Florida tourism.
Miller may have an uphill battle against the field of candidates thus far in the race. Hasner has made significant progress with many voters with his unabashedly conservative platform and speech. Haridopolos has led the Florida Senate through some tough votes, and has the charisma and drive to garner the support of Florida voters. LeMieux, despite his ties to former Governor Charlie Crist, can make the case that he has already served in the U.S. Senate and held his ground on several issues important to the majority of Florida voters. Miller seems unfazed by this though as he stated in his interview with the Daily Caller “There’s no game changer in the race…”
The race to be Florida’s Republican choice for the U.S. Senate will no doubt continue to build with pressure, and with Craig Miller’s possible entry into the race the challenge will become that much more heated. Each of the candidates will have to consider the old axiom ‘If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.’ Florida voters will select the candidate with principles and beliefs that they can sink their teeth into, and while Craig Miller may be that candidate, there is still a long trail ahead.
We are looking forward to our interviews with each of the candidates in the weeks ahead.