Here’s where sh*t stands – the “they’re off and running” edition

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Like I wrote Sunday night, the 2012 election cycle has begun in earnest for many legislative and local candidates.  But even I’m surprised by how quickly things are moving, both here in Tampa Bay and throughout the state.

Here’s where sh*t stands.

State Senator Mike Bennett is off-and-running…for Manatee County Supervisor of Elections. He has a fundraiser planned for April 18.

Rep. Mack Bernard, filed paperwork Monday to run in a newly configured Senate district, setting up a potential primary fight against Rep. Jeff Clemens.

Republican Rob Bradley said Monday he raised more than $70,000 in the first three months of the year in his bid to win a newly-drawn north Florida Senate seat that includes the Gainesville area and Clay and Bradford counties.

Mike Fasano is in. The populist state senator is term-limited from returning to the upper chamber, so he’s seeking to “return to his roots” in the Florida House.  Fasano should win in a walk, right? But can he become Speaker in 2019? Maybe, maybe not.  Either way, Pasco County stands to benefit from speakerships of Will Weatherford and Richard Corcoran.

Janet Long is in.  The former state representative, who didn’t do very good job disguising her intent to run, is in for the campaign of her political career.  If she wins, she’ll change the direction of a County Commission increasingly off track.  If she loses (again), she’s finished in elective politics.

Chris Sprowls is in; is Peter Nehr in trouble? Nehr has never had an easy time getting re-elected, but he may facing his most serious threat in the charismatic political newcomer.  Unfortunately for Sprowls, he’s running two years early and would have done better to wait until Nehr was term-limited from running again.  Instead, he will face the full brunt of the state Republican establishment.

Rep. Mike Weinstein will run for a Northeast Florida Senate seat. Weinstein would face former Rep. Aaron Bean in a District 4 primary.

Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.

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.