After openly floating a state Senate candidacy — and thereby reneging on his promise to back state Rep. Ritch Workman in his hometown district — former Senate President Mike Haridopolos said Tuesday he will not seek to return to the Legislature.
“After thoroughly considering this opportunity and the call by many in my community to run for the state Senate, weighted with what is best for our family when our children are at such a pivotal point in their lives, we have decided it is best that I not seek public office at this time,” Haridopolos said.
“Steph and I want to thank everybody for their encouragement, prayers and well wishes. We assure that we will, as asked, keep our hearts open to public service again, when the time comes that it is equally best for our hometown and our young children.”
The decision comes after Haridopolos stirred up bad blood in the Space Coast political community by exploring a run for Senate District 17 after publicly supporting Workman’s run for the seat, reportedly misinforming backers that the Melbourne Republican would drop out of the race to make way for him in the process.
Workman told FloridaPolitics.com last month that Haridopolos, who hosted Workman’s campaign kickoff event September, intimated to mutual friends Workman would seek the county Clerk of Court’s office and thereby create a path for himself, even after the two men met and Workman said in no uncertain terms he intended to stay in the race.
“He is welcome to get in the race but to start his campaign on a straight-faced lie is disappointing,” said Workman.
Haridopolos, for his part, denies the allegation.
“I have not asked anyone to get out of the race,” Haridopolos said last month. “I am being asked to get in, and I am considering it.”
The two met back in 2000 when Workman volunteered to knock on doors for Haridopolos’ first House campaign. Their mothers are close personal friends, and the two have worked together to advance the interests of the GOP majority in Tallahassee, deepening the ramifications of Haridopolos’ alleged betrayal.
“What has changed since you … proclaimed me your choice to be the next state Senator (at the 2015 campaign kickoff)?” Workman said he asked Haridopolos.
Haridopolos replied that while he enjoyed making money as a lobbyist, he could continue to consult as a member of the Legislature and that he “just want(s) to be in the process again.”
Haridopolos is no stranger to abortive runs for office.
He mounted a 2012 run for the U.S. Senate while Florida Senate President, but dropped out of that race after deciding the responsibilities of both endeavors were too much to handle simultaneously.