ByÂ Adam C. Smith, St. Pete Times Political Editor
Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner has formed an exploratory committee for an expected U.S. Senate run, the latest sign that Florida may have a sizable crowd of Republicans running to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos already announced his campaign and is raising hundreds of thousands of dollars. Soon after the first fundraising period ends March 31, Hasner and former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux are expected to make their candidacies official.
“The direness of the Florida economy and a federal debt that threatens our future as Americans form a compelling call to public service,” LeMieux said of a potential run.
By forming the “Adam Hasner US Senate Exploratory Committee,” Hasner can raise money to cover his expenses testing the waters and gearing up for a campaign without formally announcing. The 41-year-old lawyer from Boca Raton has been talking to campaign consultants and fundraisers in recent weeks, and theWashington Post reported that Republican lawyer and activist Cleta Mitchell has been working with him.
Meanwhile, LeMieux also has been talking to campaign consultants, including Jon Lerner, who earned praise from conservatives last year by helping elect Nikki Haley governor of South Carolina.
“I have spoken to Jon Lerner about the race, but have made no final decisions about running or those who would help me,” said LeMieux, who faces some skepticism about his conservatism because of his long association with former Gov. Charlie Crist.
U.S. Rep. Connie Mack of Fort Myers also is considering running for the Republican Senate nomination.
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