The sudden retirement announcement of veteran GOP Rep. Ander Crenshaw has ignited speculation about a potential high-profile successor: former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.
The district now represented by the 71-year-old Mr. Crenshaw includes the Jacksonville area, where Mr. Tebow maintains a residence, a business — XV Enterprises, a sports-consulting firm — and the Tim Tebow Foundation.
Just two weeks ago, Mr. Tebow, 28, said in an interview during his foundation’s annual golf tournament he found the idea of entering politics “intriguing.”
“I don’t know at this time in my life,” Mr. Tebow said March 29 on Fox & Friends, adding, “[I]f there’s a chance you can make a difference someday at something, then that would be intriguing.”
Mr. Crenshaw, who has served for 16 years in the safe Republican district, announced Wednesday he would not seek re-election, saying it was “time to turn the page on this chapter of my life and see what’s next.”
The website Red Alert Politics wasted no time in mounting a “draft Tebow” effort, calling him “uniquely qualified to be a Florida congressman.”
“Tebow would never be lost in the crowd, and this would give him an opportunity to lead on issues he is already leading on in his life: fighting poverty, defending homeschoolers, and making traditional values cool again,” said the Thursday post.
Others possible candidates include former Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford, former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney, and Duval County property appraiser Jerry Holland, according to the Florida Times-Union.
The deadline for entering the Aug. 30 primary is June 24.
A longtime Jacksonville resident known for his Christian faith and charitable works, Mr. Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and was named offensive MVP after the Gators won the national championship game in 2008.
His brief but eventful NFL career included a playoff win in 2011 as quarterback of the Denver Broncos. He played the 2012 season with the New York Jets and retired after being released in training camp with the New England Patriots in 2013. He attempted a comeback in the 2015 preseason with the Philadelphia Eagles but was cut during training camp. Although he has not played for the last three seasons, Mr. Tebow ranked as the fifth most popular NFL quarterback in a Public Policy Polling survey of fans released in February.
Among Republicans surveyed, Mr. Tebow came in second, with only future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning amassing more support.