TALLAHASSEE — State Senate President Mike Haridopolos has made it official: He's running for U.S. Senate. It's not much of a surprise, but he's already launched a website Mike2012.org, and he has a political committee called Friends of Mike H.
Haridoplos has not yet formally announced his candidacy to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson or filed paperwork for his committee, but he has invited donors to a $10,000-a-head Feb. 3 strategy session in Orlando to push ahead with his candidacy.
"The Senator would greatly appreciate it if you would consider raising $10,000 to Friends of Mike H and have it in hand for the strategy session,'' said the e-mail from Haridopolos' fundraising consultant.
Haridopolos' activity could pressure other prospective candidates to make their moves sooner, including U.S. Rep. Connie Mack of Fort Myers, former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, and former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux.
Mack's name is already familiar to voters thanks to his father, the former senator, and his great grandfather, the legendary baseball player, manager and owner. He said last week he would make an announcement "at the appropriate time."
Mack plans to have an aggressive fundraising schedule in the coming weeks, and will speak next month at the high profile Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Washington.
Hasner has also been testing the waters, along with LeMieux, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Senate by former Gov. Charlie Crist. The vacant seat taken over by LeMieux was filled in the last November when Marco Rubio defeated Crist and Kendrick Meek.