Stop us if you've heard this one before: a millionaire business mogul with little name recognition is using his vast fortune to jumpstart a surprising campaign for a statewide office in Florida. Yep, after the mixed results of Rick Scott and Jeff Greene is 2010, Craig Miller, the former CEO of the Ruth's Chris Steakhouse chain, has announced he'll join the fray seeking the GOP nomination to take on Senator Bill Nelson in 2012.
Unlike Greene and Scott however, Miller doesn't intend to bankroll his entire campaign, and will fund raise instead. The Vietnam vet who was ousted from the top of Ruth's Chris in 2008 after the business faltered, already appears to have some Tea Party support.
"Craig Miller shares the frustration that the tea party has with the political system," Tom Tillison, a Tea Party activist from Orlando told The St. Pete Times. "He's got the real world experience that we need in Washington, particularly with the economic challenges we face.... These guys were all products of Tallahassee. They're all career politicians."
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Of course, as we noted, Miller was ousted from the steakhouse chain after he was unable to lead it through its own economic challenges. Though, he's still living the good life and kicked off his campaign by crisscrossing the state in a private plane.
Miller will join a GOP field that already includes former senator George LeMieux, state Sen. Mike Haridopolis, and Rep. Adam Hasner. Meanwhile, Nelson is doing fine in fund raising and while reelection isn't a sure thing, he doesn't seem to be in much danger. Especially if the growing GOP field has a tough and expensive primary.