Politicians often use books as vehicles to advance their aspirations for higher office. But Florida state Senate President Mike Haridopolos’ text might have the opposite effect as he attempts to capture the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Bill Nelson (D).
The saga began in October 2003 with a contract.
In crisp legalese, Brevard Community College explained its plan to pay Haridopolos $38,166.36 a year for four years to write a “text-book quality instructional ... publishable work in book form ... which portrays the development of the Florida Legislature.” He turned in the manuscript more than a year early, in July 2006. It includes tips on campaign signs and notes that serving as state Senate president, a post he did not assume until last year, is akin to being “king.”
Still, Haridopolos was paid for all four years of the contract, according to college spokeswoman Megan Downs. But no copies of “Florida Legislative History and Processes” were printed until this year, she said. In February, it was made available as an electronic book for $9.99 on Amazon.com. The four existing bound copies of the book can be found in college’s libraries.
Unlike many political textbooks, Haridopolos’ book explains how to run for office and includes tips and tricks for someone running for the Legislature. “Every candidate must possess some basic necessities from the very commencement of the campaign,” Haridopolos wrote. “A cell phone will be essential.”
“Because the campaign sign will be so visible, the candidate should carefully consider its color, design and kind. Blue and red on white are popular, but they generally do not appear in local races,” he wrote, “because the additional color will increase their cost.”
There are also a number of personal (and flattering) anecdotes.
“In my first campaign, I knew that I did not have the means to buy everything at once,” he wrote. “The scarcity of campaign funds in the early stages proved to be a blessing, however, because it taught me campaign discipline and gave me a better understanding of our mission.”
He describes the inner workings of the Legislature, including just how much power the Senate president wields: “Unlike the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Senate President serves for only two years, but during those two years, he is a king.”
Despite being filled with detailed advice, the Haridopolos book comes with fair warning.
Haridopolos wrote: “Books such as this one cannot, in any profession or enterprise, fully prepare the reader for the real world.”
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.