House Speaker Dean Cannon went more public Tuesday with his endorsement of Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who is among three Republican contenders looking to knock of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
Cannon met with the Senate chief Tuesday in Orlando, calling him a “trusted friend, a valued legislative partner, and a much needed voice for conservative principles in Washington, DC.”
Cannon, R-Winter Park, and Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, were close allies during most of this spring’s legislative session, their first as leaders. The wheels came off toward the end, with Haridopolos later saying he was “embarrassed,” by the standoff between the two sides over legislation.
Among the bills that failed to win approval was one sought by Haridopolos, giving wrongly convicted William Dillon of the Senate boss’ home Brevard County $1 million in compensation for serving three decades behind bars.
On Tuesday, though, any hard feelings between the two chamber leaders seemed forgotten. Cannon said of Haridopolos, “ I am confident that he is the candidate that can finally retire Bill Nelson.”
Haridopolos heard similar comments in February. At a kick-off fundraiser, billed as a “private strategy session,” Haridopolos raised $1 million from lobbyists just before the session dawned.
Cannon was among those attending, drawing some notice for pledging his support for Haridopolos. Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner of Delray Beach and former U.S. Sen. George Lemieux of Fort Lauderdale have since joined the race.
Politico reported Tuesday that former Ruth’s Chris steak house CEO Craig Miller, who lost a congressional run last year, is also considering running for the Republican Senate nomination.
“I couldn’t ask for a better partner in the Florida Legislature and I look forward to having the speaker join me on the campaign trail,” Haridopolos said.