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Haridopolos Posts Early Fundraising Coup

Haridopolos Posts Early Fundraising Coup

By Erin McPike - February 11, 2011

Florida State Senate President Mike Haridopolos is attempting to establish himself as the early front-runner in the GOP Senate primary for the chance to take on Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012.

In a phone interview on Thursday, Haridopolos touted a recent day when he locked down $1 million in contribution commitments from donors in the state as evidence that he intends to make a strong run at the nomination. No other candidate has announced yet, but Republican Rep. Connie Mack, former Sen. George LeMieux and former state House majority leader Adam Hasner are checking out the race, too.

Haridopolos said he's intent on raising money in Florida for now before he returns to Washington because he wants to show operatives in the Beltway that he's capable of pulling in state money first. He also scored the endorsement of state House Speaker Dean Cannon.

The candidate noted that he will roll out the endorsements of more statewide officials in the coming months.

He also noted that he's not paying attention to his potential primary opponents and "has blinders on" about his own campaign. In fact, his strategy has thus far been to paint himself as a general election opponent to Nelson: He challenged not his primary opponents but Nelson to a ban on fundraising during the state legislative session from March 8th to May 8th. Haridopolos said if Nelson doesn't raise money during that time, he won't either.

With Nelson running full speed ahead for re-election, such a scenario is highly unlikely, and the senator is unlikely to do anything that would elevate any of his potential opponents over the others.

Erin McPike is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at emcpike@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPike.

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