Joe Scarborough told the New York Times Tuesday that despite buzz following a recent appearance in New Hampshire, where he moderated a panel about the state’s primary, he would not be entering the race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. “I’m not running, and I’m not considering running,” he said in a phone call from Florida.
Scarborough, now a co-host of the unreasonably peppy “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, is a former congressman from Florida. He first entered the House in the “Republican Revolution” of 1994, winning a district that had been held by Democrats for a century. While on Capitol Hill, Scarborough complied strongly conservative credentials and was one of the ringleaders of an attempted coup against then-Speaker Newt Gingrich. Then, in 2001, he abruptly resigned from Congress, saying that he wanted to focus on being a father.
Scarborough’s career in television began two years later on MSNBC. He has been a consistent voice for mainstream Republicans in the media. When he espouses an opinion like his post-Bridgegate criticism of Chris Christie, of whom he once was an ardent supporter or his willingness to take on Glenn Beck at the height of Tea Party wave, it makes headlines. Plus, Scarborough still has credibility on the right of the GOP as a pro-lifer and good friend of Erick Erickson. Thus, it did not seem entirely unreasonable for the media to debate the merits of a possible Scarborough presidential campaign—they did so in 2012—and he certainly didn’t seem to mind.
In New Hampshire, Scarborough told The Atlantic, “ever since I got out of politics, people have asked me if I’m going to get back in…The answer is yeah, at some point I’m going to get back in. It just hasn’t been the right time yet.”
Scarborough says that his goal is to help make the Republican Party more electable, something which does not involve his own campaign for the presidency—at least not right now, anyway. He told the Times, “I’m not Sarah Palin, and I’m not Donald Trump,” which is true in the literal sense, sure, but like both Palin and Trump, Scarborough is a GOP celebrity (although not of the fringe variety) who has teased the press with a possible run for the Oval Office when, coincidentally he has a new book coming out.
But, on the bright side, even if the former Florida congressman doesn’t run this time, there’s still hope for Scarborough-Brzezinski 2020.