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Benacquisto picks up support from future Senate Prez

Sen. Mike Haridopolos, who is slated to take over the Senate presidency from fellow Republican Jeff Atwater in 2010, plans to announce later today he's endorsing Wellington Councilwoman Lizbeth Benacquisto in her bid for the Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Dave Aronberg (who is running for Attorney General against fellow Dem Dan Gelber).

"I think she is the best, most qualified candidate," Haridopolos told the Times/Herald. "We're rallying the troops around her."

She might need troops. Former state Rep. Sharon Merchant, a Republican, has said she plans to run for the seat that runs from West Palm Beach to Fort Myers.

Merchant says she'll launch her own GOP campaign soon for the treadwear-testing West Palm Beach-to-Fort Myers seat of Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, who's running for attorney general.

Benaquisto has already gotten endorsements from Atwater and former Senate President Ken Pruitt, who is next month leaving his Port St. Lucie seat.

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