Florida Senate Race Tightens

Mike Haridopolos, once seen as the leading contender for the GOP nomination in the 2012 Senate race in Florida, ended his campaign today, taking many observers by surprise.

He said in a statement that he is “re-dedicating myself to finishing the job you sent me to do here in Florida,” namely serving in the state Senate.

The Washington Post notes that Haridopolos was once the leading fund-raiser among GOP Senate candidates:

After getting into the race early, he raised an astounding $2.6 million in the first quarter of the year, serving notice that he would be a financial force to be reckoned with.

Since then, he has fallen victim to staff departures, reports that he was paid six figures to write a book that was never published, a tough state legislative session and ethics trouble.

His fundraising dried up in the second quarter, as he fell to $900,000 and finished behind former senator George LeMieux.

One of the most remarkable milestones on the Haridopolos decline was his epic crash during an Orlando radio interview, in which the exasperated host actually kicked him off the show.  It is the stuff of candidate nightmares. 

The race seems to be boiling down to a contest between Adam Hasner, a grassroots conservative identified with Senator Marco Rubio, and George LeMieux, who comes from the Charlie Crist wing of the party. 

One big question in the wake of the Haridopolos departure is what Representative Connie Mack will do.  He had endorsed Haridopolos, and could now switch his endorsement to one of the remaining candidates, or perhaps even enter the race himself.

LeMieux is still way ahead of Hasner financially, but fundraising prowess doesn’t win elections all by itself, as Mike Haridopolos could tell you.