by Javier ManjarresThe conservative winds of change may very well have blown through the crowded and contentious field of Republican candidates who are vying to unseat Democrat U.S. Senator Bill Nelson in next year’s general election. Up to this point, the Republican candidates in the race-former Senator George LeMieux, FL Senate President Mike Haridopolos and former House Majority Leader Adam Hasner have all touted themselves as either as being “conservative” or the “true conservative” in the primary race to unseat Nelson.
Retired Army Special Operations Colonel Mike McCalister, who has also announced that he is seeking the Republican senatorial nod, could very well have catapulted himself into serious contention with his performance at the last weekend’s 2011 Republican Leadership Conference(RLC) in New Orleans, Louisiana.
McCalister is considered by some to be a long shot in the Senate, but was the only candidate in the race who appeared at the RLC and took advantage of the national exposure it provides serious. McCalister ran an unsuccessful Gubernatorial primary race against now Florida Governor Rick Scott, garnering 135,000 votes in a statewide election- not a bad start for someone who is considering another run for office.
McCallister’s subtle groundswell is manifesting itself across the state of Florida- as I’ve heard from several Tea Party activists across the state, the sentiment is that McCallister has the proverbial ‘fire in the belly’ along with the substance that of these activists are looking for- the reaction has not been the same thus far for the other three candidates Hasner, Haridopolos or LeMieux.
McCallister wowed the RLC audience with very sharp criticisms of President Obama and his administration’s foreign and domestic policies that he believes threaten the sovereignty of the United States:
“We’re all tired of a President standing on foreign soil, bowing down to Muslim Kings and apologizing for who we are.”-Col. Mike McCalister
Towards the end of his speech, McCalister poignantly voiced the sentiments of what a majority of Americans think about our government’s refusal to address our illegal immigration problem:
“We need to let the world know, that being in this country is a privilege, and not a right. Americans have paid the ultimate price, and just because you show up, doesn’t mean we owe you anything. If you want to be here, you have to be here legally- if you want to work her, you have to be in the tax system- if you want to live here, you have to be a contributor, not a taker. And if you want to be a citizen, we have a process that you need to follow, and for me, please learn to speak English.”
McCallister is likely to get a big bounce from from his RLC speech, and with his grassroots outreach continuing to flourish, the Colonel’s push could very well take away Republican primary votes away the other candidates in the race- the question is who will McCalister take away votes from, and can his campaign surge to the point that he transitions from an outsider candidate to a serious primary contender that will unapologetically carry the conservative flag?Watch Mike McCalister’ speech here:
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