Here's a sign that Florida state Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R) is looking like a serious contender against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla): He raised about $1 million from one single strategy session with donors in Orlando last week.
The impressive early haul shows that Haridopolos' perch in state legislative leadership certainly has its advantages - lobbyists with business before the state legislature certainly have reasons to get in Haridopolos' good graces. But his leadership role also poses challenges, as well, given that his legislative responsibilities preclude him from mounting a full-fledged campaign - and he may well have to step aside as the race draws closer.
Of course, fundraising isn't everything, as former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (I) quickly found out last election. Crist set records with his first quarterly fundraising haul of $4.3 million in 2009 -- also thanks to his political perch - but that wasn't unable to ultimately stop Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-Fla.) momentum.
Haridopolos is the only announced Republican candidate against Nelson, but several others are seriously considering jumping in - including former Sen. George LeMieux, Rep. Connie Mack, and former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner.