CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Commissioner Barbara Sheen Todd said Wednesday she is considering running for U.S. Senate.
"I've got an exploratory committee of business leaders from around the state," she said. "This is something that's been broached to me. I'm just looking at it right now."
A Republican first elected to her countywide office in 1980, Todd said a Senate campaign is one of several options she's looking at for 2004, including private sector jobs.
Todd said she does not intend to seek another County Commission term. She declined to say what other options she's looking at, except that she would not run against Republican former state Sen. Don Sullivan for a state House seat or against Republican state Rep. Leslie Waters, in whose district she lives.
In 1994, Todd ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor. Republicans already running include former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum of Longwood and U.S. Rep Mark Foley of West Palm Beach.
"Unless a person is prepared to raise in excess of $10-million for their campaign, they're not going to be able to be serious players in a Senate race," said Pinellas GOP Chairman Paul Bedinghaus. Sen. Bob Graham holds the seat, but is running for president in 2004. He hasn't closed the door on running for re-election if his presidential campaign falters.