Bill Nelson (D-FL) is up for re-election in 2012, and Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee chair John Cornyn (R-TX) is checking out a prominent member of left-leaning cable news outlet MSNBC as he searches for a candidate to oppose Nelson. And no, it isn’t Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz. Cornyn is angling to get Joe Scarborough on the ballot.
Along with co-host Mika Brzezinski, Scarborough holds down mornings on MSNBC via his “Morning Joe” program.
Unlike the late afternoon and evening lineup at MSNBC, Scarborough is not of the liberal persuasion. He is generally conservative, but independently so. He recently offered very public criticism of Fox News Channel/Premiere Radio Network stalwart Glenn Beck, calling him bad for Republicans and conservatives.
Scarborough has actual political experience, serving in the US House of Representatives as a Republican from 1995 through 2001.
Cornyn says he’s talked to Scarborough a few times and would be happy to do so again. And Cornyn thinks he has a chance of talking him into the race, even though he is aware that Scarborough is happy with his TV gig.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Scarborough was recruited to run for the Florida Senate seat to run against Nelson. Katherine Harris, who parlayed her hanging chad fame from the 2000 presidential election fiasco in Florida into a seat in the US House ran for the Republican Senate nod in 2005, and Scarborough was recruited to take her on in a primary, an offer he declined to accept.
The New York Post had recently reported rumors of Scarborough’s possible departure from MSNBC for completely different reasons. However, Scarborough shot down rumors that he an his co-host were shopping the idea of hosting a show in syndication, with a possible CBS deal featured in the scuttlebutt.
RBR-TVBR observation: It isn’t unusual for political recruiters to sound out celebrities when they lack an obvious credible candidate. Drew Carey’s name came up in Ohio recently, and Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings also said he was once recruited. But Scarborough has actual experience, making this recruitment effort far more credible than most.