Republicans in Washington “are trying to recruit Joe Scarborough to run against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) next year,” The Hill reports.
Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), told The Hill on Thursday that he has talked to Scarborough a couple times about a Senate bid. And he indicated he’s still working on persuading the MSNBC host to run for the upper chamber.
“I’d be delighted to talk to him a third time,” Cornyn said.
Scarborough has been “with MSNBC for the past eight years, initially hosting ‘Scarborough Country’ and now ‘Morning Joe.’”
Scarborough is happy with what he is doing, Cornyn stressed. But Cornyn also made it clear that he thinks there is a chance Scarborough could run.
Update: The NRSC is dismissing this story today, according to POLITICO.
A National Republican Senatorial Committee source shot down a story inferring that the NRSC was actively recruiting Joe Scarborough to run against Florida Sen. Bill Nelson. “This is what happens when a publication in this 24-hour media cycle tries to create news and not report the news. The story is not true,” the source said.
Update Two: But now Scarborough has confirmed the talks!
In an interview with The Hill, Scarborough said, "John suggested last month that I consider running for the Senate against Bill Nelson. His intent was clear and unambiguous and echoed his quotes in The Hill. However, I love the job I have and have no intention of running for the Senate."
Update Three: More statements from both sides.
And that comment from Scarborough led to this comment from NRSC executive director Rob Jesmer:
"In his past conversations with Senator Cornyn, Joe Scarborough had expressed an interest in perhaps running for a U.S. Senate seat in New York. To quote Joe’s own words today, his intent was ‘clear and unambiguous’ and we took him at his word that his interest was, and is, in New York. So not only did Senator Cornyn not ask him to run for the Senate in Florida, but for a number of reasons it stretches the bounds of credulity to even see why he would be considered a strong, viable candidate in Florida this cycle. There are already a number of far stronger candidates looking at the Florida Senate race and we are confident that any one of them can beat Bill Nelson in 2012. But we wish Joe the best of luck in his New York Senate pursuits and we remain fans of his cable show."
"This morning I read that John Cornyn was going to ask me to run for Senate ‘for the third time.’ There is no need. I have no interest in such a campaign. Judging from the NRSC’s bizarre behavior today, his comments obviously upset potential Florida candidates. I too would have preferred that he said nothing about his efforts to have me run for the Senate. I have no desire being part of this story and once again let me state that I have no interest in running for the U.S. Senate," Scarborough said in a statement to The Hill.