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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rancor, political games take toll on Mike Haridopolos: 'I just candidly never saw this coming'

The end of the lawmaking session Saturday should have been Mike Haridopolos' triumph — a celebration of the Republican agenda that the Florida Senate president touts in his U.S. Senate race.

But Haridopolos was a model of dejection. It was late — 3:35 a.m. — and the session had unraveled in its final hours, with Republicans fighting Republicans, Senate vs. House.

"To end this way is a major disappointment to me personally," he said at one point.

The man he called his "friend," House Speaker Dean Cannon, helped put him in this predicament. The two are the Florida Legislature's most powerful lawmakers. Legislating had given way to gamesmanship, settling scores and an embarrassing Republican Party family feud that overshadowed Gov. Rick Scott's first session.

"I just candidly never saw this coming," said Haridopolos, who tried to accommodate Cannon all session. But Haridopolos' concessions only sowed resentment with rank-and-file senators. They revolted ostensibly over seemingly obscure policy issues: regulating commercial interior designers and mold removers. Read more here.

[Last modified: Saturday, May 7, 2011 9:05pm]

    

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