According to an online poll on the Sunshine State News website, Libertarian Roger Stone is the clear front runner for Florida’s U.S. Senate race. As of this morning, July 28, 2015, Stone has 34 percent of the vote total in the unscientific poll. His closest competitors are Republican Ron DeSantis at 15 percent and Democrat Patrick Murphy at 13 percent. Stone has not officially entered the race; however, has formed an exploratory committee for the office being vacated by Republican Party presidential candidate Marco Rubio.
Ten percent of the respondents are supporting candidates not listed in the poll. The poll included two Democrats — Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson (9 percent). It also included Republicans Ron DeSantis, David Jolly (7 percent), Carlos Lopez-Cantera (8 percent), Jeff Miller (3 percent) and Todd Wilcox (2 percent).
The poll did not include others who have filed to run for the office like Democrats Pamela Keith and Josh Larose. The poll did not include Libertarian candidate Augustus Invictus. It also did not include Republicans Mike Haridopolos, D. J. DeRenzo, Dr. Joe Smith, llya Katz, Lateresa Jones and Todd Wilcox. The poll also did not include those who have filed without a party affiliation or as write-in candidates.
Another poll released yesterday, July 27, 2015, which excluded Stone and Invictus, showed that Grayson and Murphy are in a statistical dead heat on the Democratic side. The poll only surveyed Democrats and Republicans regarding next year’s primaries. On the Republican side, Jolly has a slight lead over DeSantis, Miller and Carlos Lopez-Cantera who are statistically tied.
Roger Stone is a former Republican and is relatively new to the Libertarian Party (LP). He came over to the LP around the time that two-term Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson, left the Republican Party for the LP to run for president. Johnson ended up receiving the LP’s 2012 presidential nomination and Stone was an advisor to the campaign. It has also been reported that Stone is advising Republican Donald Trump in his presidential campaign. During the 2012 election cycle, Trump reportedly said about Stone, “I appreciate all of the nice things he’s been saying, but he does not represent me. And he is not an adviser to my potential campaign.”
It is not clear when Stone will officially enter the race to force a first-ever Libertarian Party primary alongside the Democrats and Republicans. There is also plenty of time for more candidates to enter the race for Florida’s U.S. Senate as qualifying week is not until May 2016. When qualifying ends, then we will know who is running and who is not.