Published: Sep 19, 2011 9:14 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida Senate Republicans are backing a North Florida legislator as the next Senate president.
    
Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, was designated Monday as the GOP nominee to succeed current Senate President Mike Haridopolos in November 2012.
    
Republicans hold a significant 28-12 edge in the Senate meaning that Gaetz is all but assured of assuming the post after next year's elections. Gaetz will hold one of the most powerful spots in state government for two years.
    
Gaetz, 63, was first elected to the state Senate in 2006. He started his political career on the Okaloosa County school board and was also elected school superintendent in that county. His father was a mayor from North Dakota who died unexpectedly during the 1964 Republican National Convention.

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