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State Senator to Challenge Kathy Castor in Florida

Florida Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Bennett (R) will challenge Rep. Kathy Castor (D) in 2012, according to a report in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Even though Bennett, who was first elected to the Florida Senate in 2002, does not live in the current 11th district, he told Herald-Tribune columnist Jeremy Wallace that he expects that won’t be the case after Castor’s district is redrawn in redistricting.

Bennett, 66, said he would file his papers of candidacy after the current Florida Senate session ends.

Castor was easily elected to a third term in 2010, beating her Republican opponent, Mike Prendergast, 60 percent to 40 percent. She has not been a GOP target since winning the safely Democratic Tampa-area district in 2006. However, Republicans control the redistricting process in Florida and may look to make the seat more competitive.

Bennett’s colleague, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, is also running for federal office. He is hoping to unseat Sen. Bill Nelson (D) but has to win a competitive GOP primary first.