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GOP prez candidate Pawlenty gets his Tally on next week

Friday, February 11th, 2011 by Dara Kam

As promised by Senate President Mike Haridopolos yesterday, GOP lawmakers will get a visit from one of the likely 2012 presidential contenders – former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty – next week.

Tea party darling Pawlenty, slated to speak Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., will be the first of the presidential candidates to come to what the Merritt Island Republican, who’s running statewide for U.S. Senate, calls ground-zero in the 2012 race.

“T-Paw,” as he calls himself on his Website, has set up a political committee called “Freedom First” backing conservative candidates like himself, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott and new U.S. Reps. Daniel Webster and Steve Southerland.

Perhaps Haridopolos, hoping to unseat incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in what may be a crowded field, will get his endorsement (although Haridopolos was a Mike Huckabee supporter three years ago.) Haridopolos happily labels himself Florida’s most conservative senate president ever.

Haridopolos said that Florida is “the most important state in the presidential election” and will also likely determine who the next GOP nominee is.

“I think it will be beneficial for Florida to find out some of the ideas because we face a multitude of problems in the state and if a person is seeking the presidency I think they should come to Florida and let us know what they think,” Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, told reporters yesterday.

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