by Javier ManjarresWith Democrat Senator Bill Nelson’s seat viewed as a prime pickup opportunity by the Republican National Committee, speculation continues over whether any of the announced or potential candidates can beat the politically vulnerable incumbent Senator.
The immediate problem that the Republican candidates face is the fact that we are only 6 months removed from “Marco-mania”, and the unfair comparisons with Senator Marco Rubio are already being bandied about.
In addition to the Rubio comparisons, many are speculating that the Republican primary could potentially be a Charlie Crist Vs. Marco Rubio re-match, as long-time Rubio supporter and friend Adam Hasner and long-time Crist supporter Senator George LeMieux could wind up as the two candidates with the inside track to the nomination- let’s not forget Senate President Mike Haridopolos and dark horse candidate Mike McCallister will also be strong candidates.
Former Senator George LeMieux’s close association and friendship with Governor Charlie Crist could be a burden in the Republican primary. LeMieux was an advisor and supporter of Crist throughout his Senatorial campaign until the Governor jumped ship by leaving the GOP and ran for Senate as an Independent- LeMieux then endorsed Rubio in the U.S. Senate race.
The conventional wisdom at the moment says that many of the Rubio faithful, not to mention a good portion of the Tea party element would align themselves with the candidacies of Haridopolos and Hasner while the Crist die-hards would support LeMieux.
To LeMieux’s credit, he did lend his support and ultimately endorse Rubio while distancing himself from Crist. LeMieux would not be in the position he is in now if not for his uncanny ability to raise money and to make the right moves politically via his support of Crist . LeMieux has been trecking around the state talking to groups of Republican voters and working the phone effectively to garner early support, a strategy that is working thus far for Senator LeMieux.
LeMieux will undoubtedly run on his “no-earmark’ and conservative voting record that he earned for himself during his 16 month stint in the Senate. Speaking of this record as Senator, LeMieux’s only blemishes to his Senate record is the fact that he voted for the Food bill and the” TARP II” banking bill- two big issues that the Tea Party movement were not happy about. Can LeMieux win the nomination in what is looking like a crowded Republican field? Even though we’re almost a year and a half removed from the Republican Primary, the jockeying for position is already in full swing.
Senator LeMieux recently spoke to the Fort Lauderdale Tea Party and addressed questions about his relationship with Governor Crist and the Food Bill that he supported.
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