Five years ago, Florida's Democratic U.S. senator wasn't even on this list. But then he moved to Orlando and, more importantly, saw his party take control of Congress. Now Nelson, 66, is a gatekeeper for most anything Florida wants or needs from Washington. And, as a bit of trivia, Nelson first introduced Central Florida to Barack Obama at a fundraiser back in 2005, where Nelson described his new peer as the Senate's rising star.
JOHN RAOUX, Associated Press
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