Here’s where sh*t stands – the ‘chomping at the bit in Tampa Bay’ edition

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Florida’s political calendar turns on a different orbit than the rest of the world.

While others mark the days by weeks and months, politicos bracket their lives by filing deadlines and elections. One of the key upcoming dates is the end of the legislative session on March 9. When that day has passed, legislators can resume raising money for their re-election campaigns and the political parties, marking the unofficial beginning to the 2012 election cycle for state legislative races.

But it’s still two weeks to that day, so candidates are chompin’ at the bit.  Here’s where sh*t stands.

Jessica Ehrlich, a St. Petersburg native with a bi-partisan political biography, plans to formally announce Monday her campaign to challenge veteran U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores. More here.

The Hillsborough County Republican Party launched a revamped website — HCRP.org — focused on news, information, resources and events related to the party, the convention and its candidates. In announcing the launch, Hillsborough GOP chairman Art Wood said the enhanced site “positions us for the important efforts to come” during the 2012 GOP convention, which will showcase the city, and the November presidential election.

The race for District 69, where Democrat Rick Kriseman will face a strong challenge for this now-a-battleground seat, there is at least one Republican who has decided to not challenge Kriseman.  Joe Triolo, a grassroots activist and chair of the Pinellas Housing Authority, has decided not to run, leaving South Pasadena Mayor Kathleen Peters as Kriseman’s most likely Republican opponent.  There is some rumbling of yet another Republican — an unnamed, self-financed candidate — considering a run.

Florida Democratic Party Rod Smith recently made the hard sell to former State Representative Janet Long in the hope of recruiting her to run for the open State Senate seat in South Pinellas. Not believing the party would have, much less be able to deliver, the resources needed to win this seat, Long turned Smith down.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller will hold a fundraiser for his re-election campaign on Tuesday, February 28, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Mangroves Restaurant at 208 S. Howard.  The event will be hosted by Randy Coen, Michael English, Gina Grimes, Morris Massey, David Mechanik, Jim Porter, Sam Shah and Andrea Zelman.

Yes, Peter Nehr has a race on his hands now that prosecutor Chris Sprowls has filed to run against him. But make no mistake, Sprowls has done himself no favors with the powers-that-be in Tallahassee.  Officially, Republican leaders will say they will remain neutral in this race, but behind the scenes, these leaders will direct tens, if not, hundreds of thousands Nehr’s way — and against Sprowls.  Unless he can pull off an upset victory, Sprowls has made a rash decision running two years early instead of waiting for Nehr to be term-limited out in 2014.

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.