2012 campaign cycle begins in earnest for Florida's legislative, local candidates

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Former State Representative Bill Galvano is running for the Florida Senate.  He first filed to run for the Senate on June 12, 2009.  In other words, Galvano has been on the campaign trail for nearly three years.

Yet, it is the next seven months which  matter the most to Galvano and the hundreds of legislative, judicial and local candidates running for elected office in 2012.

With the business of the Legislature concluded and the first quarter fundraising deadline now past, the 2012 election cycle begins in earnest today.

The end of the “extraordinary” legislative session last week lifts the ban on state legislators from collecting donations for their campaigns or the political parties.  Of course, these legislators did not have much time to raise money before the end of the first quarter on Saturday, March 31, so there was scramble for last-minute contributions on Friday and Saturday.

Candidates thinking about running have been waiting for the deadline to pass, so they could file without fear of having to post a truncated fundraising report. Candidates who had made up their mind to run after the first of the year have been waiting, waiting, waiting.

On Monday, or at least this week, the waiting will end for many prospective candidates.  Big names, such as State Senator Mike Fasano and many others, will reveal their political plans.

Consultants will ink deals. Contributions will be solicited. Websites will be built.

To political aficionados, of which I count myself one of the most enthusiastic, this week is the equivalent of Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving which marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

Only no one gets stampeded filing to run for office.

That happens later.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.