Joe Scarborough likely won't be leaving his day job anytime soon, if his latest musings about running for office follow his years-old pattern of will-he-or-won't-he political candidacy.
In an interview last week, Scarborough described his plans for the next three years: He'll keep working as a host on Morning Joe, "keep his head down" during the 2016 election cycle, and then maybe "look to run in Florida" for Senate in 2018.
But in the same breath, Scarborough contradicted himself, and in a pattern all too familiar to observers of the former GOP congressman, left his plans for 2016 open to speculation.
"I don't think in '16, but who knows?" Scarborough told talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt.
When it comes to his political plans, "who knows" is what Scarborough wants people asking. The MSNBC host—whose show has taken a ratings dive since its start in 2008—is the man-who-cried-campaign of centrist GOP politics, and his biennial overtures are near-identical. Every couple of years, the former Florida congressman says in an interview that the GOP wants him back in elected office. And every couple of years, no campaign arises.
In 2009—eight years after resigning his Florida congressional seat—Scarborough said he'd been taking calls from Florida fundraisers and other Republicans wanting him to run for former Sen. Mel Martinez's seat. At the time, he said, "I haven't closed [off]" the idea of running. But he didn't launch a bid.
Two years later, Scarborough revealed he'd discussed the idea of running for Senate with Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican. Scarborough claimed Cornyn wanted him to take on Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida in 2012, but the Texas Republican said it was a New York seat he'd discussed with Scarborough. In the end, the back-and-forth generated some page views, but Scarborough didn't run.
And his interview on Friday wasn't the first time he has discussed a presidential bid for 2016. In 2014, he said, "it's just a matter of time," until he gets back into the game.
"I won't rule anything out," said Scarborough, whose 2013 book on Republican politics was described by Vanity Fair and others as an early campaign move. "I've always said and I've always been open about the fact that the greatest job I ever had and the greatest honor I've ever had was being in the House of Representatives."
The 2016 Scarborough for president and/or Senate speculation goes back even further—to before ballots were cast in the last presidential election—when Scarborough halfheartedly dismissed suggestions he'd make a future bid for the White House in an interview with Politico in October 2012.
Not in 2016, he demurred, and not in 2020. Despite presidential rumors and Senate propositions, he said, he still likes his job.
"But you never know what's going to happen," Scarborough said. "Every two years, there's someone suggesting that I run for Senate."
That someone could just be Joe Scarborough.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.