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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Staff shakeup at Mike Haridopolos campaign?



Mike Haridopolos' pollster and longtime political adviser Pat Bainter is winding down his role on Haridopolos' U.S. Senate campaign to focus more energy and attention on legislative races in the busy 2012 cycle. It was described to us less about problems on the Haridopolos campaign and more about the state GOP needing Bainter's full attention on the huge number of legislative races in a redistricting year.


But that explanation from a source doesn't quite add up when we talked to Sen. Don Gaetz, who's to succeed Haridopolos as Senate President and is in charge of the Senate Victory campaign effort to elect Republicans to his chamber.

Asked if he had spoken with Bainter about specifically working on any campaigns for Senate Victory, Gaetz said: “No. I’ve had very general discussions with Pat. I understood his first loyalty was with President Haridopolos. I don’t have a contract with him. I haven’t come to any agreement with him about how much time he has available. He’s one of the most successful political campaign managers in our state’s history, and if he can work for us that would be great.”

Bainter and Haridopolos go way back so it's a major development that does not bode well for Haridopolos. It would be like George LeMieux leaving in the middle of Charlie Crist's gubernatorial campaign, Randy Nielsen dropping off of Jeff Atwater's campaign or Dave Beattie dropping off  Bill Nelson's. And it comes after Haridopolos' Florida Senate chief of staff and communications director left Haridopolos.

What's more there's considerable Buzz that Tim Baker, Haridopolos' campaign manager, also is leaving the campaign. We asked Baker about that at about 4 p.m., but he has declined to comment. Haridopolos also has not responded to a request for comment.

[Last modified: Thursday, July 14, 2011 6:53pm]


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