Senate President Mike Haridopolos to Run Against Bill Nelson in 2012

Senator Bill Nelson, currently the only democratic official in Florida to have been elected state-wide, is up for re-election in 2012, and he's already beginning to draw Republican opponents. Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos will soon announce his candidacy and is already talking openly about the run with the media. Haridopolos is a staunch conservative (who, no joke, named one of his kids Reagan) and is considered a rising star in the state Republican party.

Haridopolos will invite high-powered donors next month to a strategy session before officially kicking off the campaign -- a campaign that will have to run concurrently while Haridopolos is carrying out his two-year term as senate president.

"Like Marco Rubio proved, I think you need to get in early and prove that you're serious about the race,' Haridopolos told Politico. "But I am more serious at this point about balancing the budget without a tax increase."

Recent polling has shown that unless Jeb Bush decides to run (and he won't) the race for the Republican nomination is wide open. Former interim senator George LeMieux, Rep. Connie Mack, and Rep. Adam Hasner are also suspected to run.

A recent poll by Democratic-leaning pollsters PPP showed that Haridopolos would currently trail Nelson by 12 percent, but we all know how reliable early polling can be. Just ask Marco Rubio.

We here at Riptide look forward to the numerous jokes about Haridpolos' hair this campaign will surely provide.

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Kyle Munzenrieder