The Republican field in Florida to take on Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson just got shaken up, with state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, a frontrunner in the race, suddenly dropping out after previously strong (but diminishing) fundraising.
The St. Petersburg Times reports: "In an increasingly crowded race to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, Haridopolos' campaign showed signs of stalling. Just last week came news that political adviser Pat Bainter was leaving the campaign along with de facto campaign manager and spokesman, Tim Baker."
Haridopolos previously led in the money race, taking in $2.5 million in the first quarter. However, his fundraising in the second quarter dropped sharply to $900,000, followed by former Sen. George LeMieux (who was appointed by then-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist in 2009, and did not seek a full term, before Crist became an independent) at $900,000, followed by former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner at $560,000.
Haridopolos said in a statement, and accompanying YouTube video, that his duties as state Senate leader and a candidate U.S. Senate were coming into conflict:
Yet...it became increasingly clear to me, and those around me, that the responsibilities I was managing on both fronts...were in conflict.
I truly believed I could handle both jobs....but I was wrong.
And now I am determined to make it right.
He also added: "Instead, I am re-dedicating myself to finishing the job you sent me to do. Here in Florida."