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Craig Miller Drops Out of Senate Race, Will Run for Congress

On Monday, restaurant executive Craig Miller announced that he is dropping out of the crowded Republican primary looking to take on Democrat incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in November to run for Congress.

The district that Miller is targeting -- as it stands now in the fluid redistriciting process -- stretches on the Atlantic coast, south of Jacksonville to include parts of Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia counties.

I want to thank the thousands of Floridians that I have met and encouraged me over the past seven months, Miller said in a statement released on Monday. There are several very qualified candidates in the U.S. Senate race to represent our party, some with more name recognition and resources than our campaign. Therefore, I have chosen to shift my focus to serving the people of the new Coastal District.

Having grown up on the Intracoastal Waterway and having spent a lifetime working in the hospitality and tourism industry, including opening and operating businesses in Volusia and St. John counties, this new district offers me a unique opportunity to serve, added Miller, who ran for Congress in 2010. Volusia County Republican primary voters honored me with a majority of their votes in 2010. They recognize my hospitality background, having created over 40,000 jobs, along with my fiscal and social conservative values, were what they wanted in Washington. My volunteer combat service, as a Vietnam veteran, also provides me the opportunity to serve the over 100,000 veterans in our new district. Susan and I will be residing in Ormond Beach as we travel the D
district, anxious to meet, listen and learn from its citizens. It is my intent to continue my 'Miller on Main Street' workday program, starting on Wednesday, working at the Sunset Harbor Yacht Club in Daytona Beach.

I am proud to be the only fiscal and social conservative to announce my candidacy to represent this new district and applaud the state Legislature for recognizing the importance of the economic and demographic differences that link the Coastal Region from the more urban Orlando area, Miller continued. It is long overdue that this vital historic region is represented in Congress by a champion for its needs and opportunities. My conversation with thousands of Floridians has made me convinced they are looking for new leadership and a clear option to the out of touch, career, and big-spending politicians. I want to be an experienced advocate for the citizens of the new Coastal District, not a politician that represents special interests and lobbyists.

Miller, the former CEO of Ruths Chris and Uno Restaurants, has endorsed former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich in Tuesdays Republican presidential primary. Fellow restaurant executive Herman Cain, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination and won the Presidency 5 straw poll in Orlando back in September, endorsed Miller in the Senate race earlier in the month. Miller has struggled in the polls, usually pulling below 5 percent when matched up against the rest of the GOP field.

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