Nelson's in-out-in-decision comes at considerable expense to candidates challenging Gov. Rick Scott, especially Charlie Crist who is in de facto campaign mode.
Polling indicates either Crist or Nelson can unseat Scott, one of the most unpopular governors in the nation. Of the two, though, Nelson has a much easier path to victory. Republicans are salivating at the chance to beat Crist, the turncoat whose chief flaw was to antagonize serious Republican money like Big Sugar. Nelson, in comparison, is easy-going and doesn't offend a soul.
But what of the US Senate seat that Nelson would leave? The governor appoints the successor Senator in the case of an abandoned seat. That's what recently occurred when Mel Martinez resigned from the world's most exclusive upper chamber. Then Republican Governor Charlie Crist appointed his former chief of staff, George Lemieux, for the interim.
Can Nelson run for governor while preserving his Senate seat? If he defeats Scott in next November's election, does he technically surrender his seat on his victory or on inauguration? And who among Florida Democrats could run and win? Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz?
These questions have preoccupied Florida's small Democratic brain trust. The uncertainty may have clouded Senator Nelson's response to the challenge of running for governor last summer. But cooler weather is here. The rains have lifted. Skies are clear and Bill Nelson will run for governor.