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Castor’s future dependent upon Graham’s choice

Betty Castor is continuing to go full swing with her campaign for the U.S. Senate. However, if Sen. Bob Graham decides to return to the Senate, the former USF president says she will drop out of the race.

“Bob and I are friends, and we have worked on a lot of projects together with education,” Castor said. “I love Bob Graham and I would not run against him.”

Graham announced Oct. 6 on CNN’s Larry King Live that he was dropping out the race for president in 2004. Graham told King that he would make a decision soon on whether he would run for re-election and a fourth term in the Senate.

Castor said she thinks the candidates will hear a decision sometime this week, but until then she will continue to campaign.”This makes the campaigning challenging and interesting,” Castor said.

Three other Democratic candidates are also in a holding pattern until Graham decides. They are U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd of Monticello, U.S. Rep. Peter Deutsch of Fort Lauderdale and Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas.

The four candidates, including Castor, have said they respect Graham’s position in the Democratic party and will wait him out.

“We all know Bob Graham and I know he will make a decision of the heart, no matter what,” Castor said. “But nobody knows what he will do. It’s a 50/50 decision.”

In the meantime, Castor said she is continuing to reach out to Florida voters by traveling and making speeches. She added that, in many aspects, Graham’s dropping out of the race hasn’t affected her campaign, except in one instance.

“Fund raising is still hard,” she said. “People are reluctant to give money if they aren’t sure if you will be running in the coming weeks.”

Castor, whose campaign trail took her to parts of the East Coast and Sarasota last weekend, said she will continue to try to win advocates until Graham makes his final decision.

“If he wants to run for a fourth term, I would support him,” she said.