Washington (CNN) – Call it a one-two White House punch for Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida.
Vice President Joe Biden heads to Florida next week to help raise campaign cash for the two-term Democratic senator, who could face a challenging re-election next year.
The vice president's office confirms to CNN that Biden will travel to Tampa, Florida to headline a fundraiser for Nelson. The vice president becomes the second high profile surrogate to help out Nelson this month. At the beginning of March, President Barack Obama teamed up with Nelson at two fundraisers in Miami Beach to help raise money for the senator and for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, Nelson had $3,083,493 in cash on hand as of the end of last year.
The two-term Nelson is under the 50 percent mark against possible Republican challengers in five 2012 hypothetical general election matchups, according to a survey from last month commissioned by Ron Sachs Communications and conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research. And a Quinnipiac University poll conducted in January indicated that 45 percent of Florida voters approved of the job Nelson's doing as senator, with 21 percent disapproving and 34 percent unsure.
Two of the top non-partisan political handicappers, the Rothenberg Political Report and the Cook Political Report, rate the race as "Lean Democrat."
Obama and Biden won Florida by three percentage points in the 2008 presidential election. But the GOP did very well in the Sunshine state in last November's midterm elections, holding onto the governor's office, an open senate seat, and winning back four House seats controlled by the Democrats. But Nelson could be helped in his re-election bid by having the president at the top of the ticket on the ballot in November 2012.
Word of Biden's visit was first reported by the Tampa Bay area's Daily Loaf.
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