Is Sobel mulling a U.S. Senate bid?

There are a few Republicans who claim that Clifford Sobel, the United States Ambassador to Brazil, is giving some thought to leaving his diplomatic post to run against Frank Lautenberg in the 2008 United States Senate race. Sobel, a millionaire businessman and former New Jersey Republican State Committee Finance Chairman, mulled a Senate bid against Bob Menendez in early 2006 after leaving his post as the U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, but opted to take the Brazil appointment instead.

Sources say that Sobel has made a few calls to discuss the ’08 Senate race in his home state.

Already in the race for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination: Assemblyman Joseph Pennacchio and millionaire developer Anne Evans Estabrook. Sobel’s wife, former New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority Commissioner Barbara Sobel, serves on Estabrook’s Exploratory Committee.

Is Sobel mulling a U.S. Senate bid?