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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

GOP has bull's-eye on Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012



WASHINGTON — It's not even 2011, and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson already has a big target on his back for 2012.

Buoyed by November's GOP wave and eager to get a head start in what could be a crowded primary, Republican legislators and congressmen are wasting no time taking on Florida's senior senator, deserting an unwritten rule against legislators aggressively attacking members of the state's congressional delegation.

"It's clear that Bill Nelson is out of touch with Florida, and that's why there is so much activity already in advance of 2012,'' said former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, one of several potential challengers.

Republicans have long viewed Nelson as vulnerable in Republican-leaning Florida, and Nelson said it's no surprise they're already circling as he'll soon be the only statewide Democratic office holder.

"What else do you expect after an election like 2010? People think the results of the 2010 election gives them a certain momentum,'' Nelson said.

Read more from Alex Leary and Adam C. Smith here.

[Last modified: Monday, December 13, 2010 8:53am]


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