Vice President Joe Biden coming to Tampa for fundraiser for Bill Nelson - meanwhile, his potential opponents get closer to formally declaring their candidacy

Vice President Joe Biden is coming to Tampa for the first time since he and Barack Obama thrilled a University of Tampa crowd by announcing that they were leaving a $1.25 billion check to the state to begin constructing a high speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando in January of 2010.

You know what happened with that. But the VP is coming to town on another money related matter - as a way to raise funds for Florida Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson's 2012 re-election campaign - which he'll be doing next Wednesday, March 23.  The event takes place at the Embassy Suites Downtown, 513 S. Florida Avenue.

It's a very open question whom Nelson will be facing, but then again there is nearly a year and a half  (September of 2012) before Florida Republican voters will have to make that choice.  Just in the past few days former House Majority Leader Adam Hasner has formed an exploratory committee to "test the waters," and will probably get into the race officially next month.

Another likely candidate would seem to be the man who can boast that he already has been a U.S. Senator, George LeMieux, who held officer for nearly a year and a half when Republican Mel Martinez decided to up and quit the seat back in 2009.  LeMieux has met with a major pollster to discuss the possibilities recently, and will likely announce either way this spring.

Already declaring of course is Florida state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who is already vulnerable after the embarrassing revelation that he was paid $152,000 and four years what was supposed to be a textbook-quality look at Florida political history, but instead consists mostly of  his advice on running for the Legislature.

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