Mike Haridopolos, the Republican president of the Florida state senate, announced this morning that he is dropping out of the race for the United States Senate. In a press release, Haridopolos says he wants to focus solely on his current job:
Today, I am announcing that I will no longer be a candidate for the United States Senate, nor will I seek any other office this year or next. Instead, I am re-dedicating myself to finishing the job you sent me to do here in Florida.
This was a very difficult decision for me, and my family, but this is the right decision. To those who have supported me in my race for Senate, know that while I may be ending this campaign, I will not give up the fight.
The Miami Heraldreported on Saturday that two Haridopolos staffers left the campaign, perhaps giving an earlier indicator that either his campaign imploded or that the Florida Republican was preparing to bow out. Although he raised an impressive $2.5 million in the first quarter of 2011, Haridopolos created controversy when he refused to say if he supported Paul Ryan's budget on a conservative talk radio show in May. He later said he was against the Medicare reforms in the plan.
Remaining in the race for the GOP nomination are former U.S. senator George LeMieux and former state representative Adam Hasner. LeMieux was appointed to the Senate in 2009 by then-governor Charlie Crist to replace Mel Martinez, vacating the seat after Marco Rubio was elected in 2010. (LeMieux did not run in that race, however.) Hasner served as house majority leader from 2007 until 2010. The winner of the primary will face Democratic senator Bill Nelson in the general election.