Former Rep. Dave Weldon announces Florida Senate bid

Former Republican Rep. Dave Weldon on Friday announced his candidacy for Florida Senate, ending rampant speculation about his political future.

"For me, running for U.S. Senate isn't a career move," Weldon said in a statement on his campaign website. "I have a fulfilling career in health care. I have no desire to be a 'career politician.' But someone has to provide a conservative solution to the problems the administration has created and the Senate has endorsed."

Watch Weldon's announcement video below:

Weldon, who served in Congress from 1995 to 2009 representing the East Central Space Coast area of Florida, announced his retirement in 2008 and returned to his practice as a physician.

Weldon entered the Florida Senate race Friday billing himself as the conservative alternative in an already crowded and hotly contested Republican primary.

"I want to commit my experience and talent to solving the problems in Washington by bringing an unflinching conservative approach," Weldon said in his open letter.

Weldon has hired some of Rick Santorum's former campaign strategists to work on his Senate bid.

Weldon faces Rep. Connie Mack, whom Mitt Romney endorsed this week, former Sen. George LeMieux, 2010 gubernatorial nominee Mike McCalister as well as others in the Aug. 14 Republican race. The winner will take on Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson this fall.

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