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Plant City Army colonel tries to make headway in U.S. Senate race

Mike McCalister is going into overdrive to put himself on the Republican map in Florida's 2012 U.S. Senate race.

The 58-year-old former Army colonel from Plant City has nearly 20 events across the state this month, including a visit today to the Republican Women's Club of Saint Johns County. He has 15 events already set up next month, from traditional GOP groups to those aligned with the tea party. 

His campaign, which this week got FEC approval to raise money, has taken offense to news reports that do not mention him as a candidate. He's still a minor figure but backers say he has shown promise.

In the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary, McCalister got a late start and had little money but took 10 percent of the vote -- or 130,272 -- which was more than three times the 37,684-vote edge that gave Rick Scott his victory over Bill McCollum.

-- Alex Leary