by Javier ManjarresPolitical operatives and activists across Florida are still dealing with the fallout resulting from Mike Haridopolos’ announcement that he was ending his campaign for the US Senate. Haridopolos and his campaign made a number of mistakes, but he still managed to raise $3.5 million with a primary date that was still more than a year away.
But the talk around Florida’s political rumor mill is that Senate President Haridopolos’ decision to drop out of the Senate race was either “influenced” or “encouraged” by one of his rivals, and the candidate whose name is being tossed around as they man who did the influencing, if the rumors are true, is that of former Senator George LeMieux.
George LeMieux is widely considered one of the sharpest, and at times ruthless political minds in Florida politics.
It was George LeMieux who was behind Charlie Crist’s 2006 gubernatorial bid that dispatched Tom Gallagher after a series of strategically planted stories around the state.LeMieux was at it again in 2009 as he served as a campaign spokesman for Governor Charlie Crist and led the opposition research efforts against Marco Rubio. In fact, LeMieux and then RPOF Chairman Jim Greer were also a part of secret back-room talks to force Rubio from the Senate race, so that the path could be cleared for Govenor Charlie Crist.
LeMieux’s political talents are so prodigious that many people believe the implosion of Charlie Crist’s Senate campaign began when LeMieux left to serve as United States Senator, leaving Crist to fend for himself which prompted leftward political drift.
Which brings us to the abrupt end of Mike Haridopolos’ U.S. Senate campaign. Did LeMieux’s skills as a seasoned political operative have anything to do with his chief rival’s departure? Or could another possible rumored reason for Haridopolos’ abrupt departure be that he may be implicated in the forthcoming Jim Greer corruption trial?
No one in the LeMieux camp is talking, but the ever observant el Sharko found it just a bit curious that the LeMieux Campaign immediately sent out slick, well produced emails- complete with custom made graphics – encouraging Haridopolos supporters to join LeMieux’s campaign. We’ll see if these rumors are just that- rumors- or if there’s more going on here.
****UPDATE***I just spoke with Mike Haridopolos concerning these rumors, and he stands by the reasons he articulated in the video announcement in which he announced the end of his campaign. He also indicated that there was no “outside influence” that factored into his decision.