After an eventful legislative session, Florida Senate President and 2012 Senate candidate Mike Haridopolos is hitting the road to sell his message to voters. Haridopolos faces former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner and former Sen. George LeMieux in the GOP primary for the opportunity to challenge Sen. Bill Nelson (D).
Haridopolos worked to differentiate himself from his opponents in an interview with Roll Call.
“What’s going to separate us is we don’t just talk about things or tweet or Facebook. We’re actually accomplishing a conservative record,” Haridopolos said in a dig at Hasner, an avid user of Twitter who often posts notes on policy issues on Facebook.
Haridopolos previewed his campaign stump speech by noting his accomplishments in the legislature: closing an almost $4 billion budget gap by cutting spending, writing a constitutional amendment for the 2012 ballot that would statutorily limit spending and working on pension and Medicaid reforms.
“Other states have done some good things, but ours was, I think, the most comprehensive conservative session probably in the country,” Haridopolos said.
Will the pitch work?
Jason Hoyt, a key Florida tea party activist based in Orlando who met with Haridopolos on Friday, said the candidate seemed “like he walked away from this legislative session looking for high fives” by hitting the campaign trail immediately. While explaining that Haridopolos “does need to be congratulated on a great session because of the great things that were accomplished,” Hoyt emphasized that the state’s conservative agenda was “not done.”
“Those accomplishments do not translate into immediate Senate candidacy support,” Hoyt said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.