This isn't McCalister's first foray into politics. He finished a distant third to Gov. Rick Scott and former Rep. Bill McCollum in last year's gubernatorial primary. But McCalister surprised some observers by notching 10.1 percent of the vote after spending less than $9,000 on the race.
Looking to improve on that performance, McCalister has hired veteran Republican operatives Buzz Jacobs and John Yob to run his campaign. Jacobs was the Southeast Regional Campaign Manager for Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential bid. Yob served as an adviser last year to the campaigns of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Sharron Angle, the controversial Nevada Republican who came up short in her quest to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Jacobs and Yob have said McCalister won't raise much money until the fourth fundraising quarter of the year due to his late entry into the race. The second quarter ends Thursday.
McCalister might not be the last Republican to jump into the race. Former Ruth's Chris Steakhouse CEO Craig Miller is leaning toward running and plans to make his decision by the middle of the summer.