Must-read: The re-launch of Battleground Tampa Bay with a story about Rick Baker running for State Senate

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This morning, Extensive Enterprises Media is re-launching BattlegroundTampaBay.com, one of the sister sites of SaintPetersblog.com, with a new, expanded layout and a new focus on Tampa Bay politics.

BattlegroundTampaBay.com saw a tremendous amount of growth during the Tampa municipal elections and it is our intent to build on that growth by dedicating the site to the congressional, legislative and local campaigns in play in 2012.

Part of the rationale for re-launching BattlegroundTampaBay.com is a matter of addition by subtraction. For better or worse, depending on why you read SaintPetersblog.com, our flagship website is really now more of a statewide website, covering the Florida Legislature, state politics and many other statewide topics. Occasionally, it was awkward to see a story about a local race in Pinellas next to a story about Bill Nelson. So just as the St. Petersburg Times found it necessary to split its online political coverage into two units — the Buzz and the Bay Buzz — so must Extensive Enterprises Media.

Yet, unlike the St. Petersburg Times, we’re not going to treat local political news like a red-headed step-child. In fact, by re-launching an expanded Battleground Tampa Bay, there will be room for more news, more information, more analysis than by housing all of this information on one site. Sure, there will still be some cross-over, but for the most part, the award-winning coverage of Tampa Bay politics you’ve read on SaintPetersblog.com can now also be found on BattlegroundTampaBay.com.

In fact, we’re re-launching BattlegroundTampaBay.com with a very juicy story about Rick Baker possibly running for the state Senate in 2012. In addition to the story about Baker, there is an exclusive photo gallery of pictures from behind-the-scenes at Charlie Crist’s return to Tallahassee for the unveiling of his official portrait. An excerpt from the story about Rick Baker:

That? why a group of Tampa Bay politicos recently took Baker out to dinner in Tallahassee and urged him to consider running for the state Senate. It was 11 on 1,?said one participant in the dinner who asked to remain anonymous until Baker makes a decision. And you could slowly start to see Baker warming to the idea because, in today? Florida Senate, with people like Don Gaetz and John Thrasher, Baker sees colleagues and peers. He? always been an executive and doesn? want to be one of 120 (as in the Florida House) or one of 435 (as in the US House), but when he sees who? in the Senate, he sees a lot of people he respects.?

According to another source who took part in the dinner, Senator Gaetz, the future Senate President, is also urging him to jump into the race. Gaetz was not present at the dinner, but Baker and Gaetz met while Baker was in Tallahassee.

BTB, as BattlegroundTampaBay.com is known around the office will cover all of the news and information about Tampa Bay’s battleground political races, such as Kathy Castor vs. Mike Bennett, and the dozens of other critical elections on the ballot in 2012.

But wait, there is other good news. As some of you have gathered, we’ve brought in some additional staff to help cover these topics, in addition to offering stories from the News Service of Florida. Also, I have begun to write for AOL – Patch and will be offering much of my coverage of St. Petersburg politics on that platform.

So, all in all, good things are happening. Of course, the best of them is still to come. This month, we will be rolling out THREE more website to go along with the three already up-and-running so that our websites are your first stop for Florida political news.

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.