Mike Haridopolos Encounters a Hornet's Nest at Tea Party Manatee

State Senate President Mike Haridopolos' appearance at Tea Party Manatee's "Meet the Candidate" night wasn't exactly a love fest. In fact, it was about as chippy as a Heat-Bulls playoff game.

While the U.S. Senate-hopeful gamely defended his record at Tallahassee, the Bradenton audience zeroed in on the 2011 Legislature's failure to enact an E-Verify immigration bill.

After the Merritt Island Republican reminded the crowd of 75 that the Senate passed an E-Verify bill, and reiterated that he is not a "dictator," tea party member Judi Hood fumed:

"No one is buying his blame game. We all know he could have passed Senator Alan Hays' SB 518 (a stand-alone mandatory E-Verify bill) early. It would have been a good, easy, clean match with Representative Gayle Harrell’s E-Verify bill and could have passed quickly."

Instead, Hood said Haridopolos "allowed [Sen.] J.D. Alexander excessive floor time to try to convince all the senators that E-Verify was flawed. He then put Senator [John] Thrasher, who has no facts on E-Verify, in the position of defender of the mandatory E-Verify, instead of Senator Hays.

"I’d call this a ‘setup,' just like the Republican leadership has been doing for all the past sessions while Haridopolos has been there."

Haridopolos has said that the state budget and government reform were his top priorities -- not immigration legislation.

But immigration activist George Fuller called the senator on that point and others. In a letter he dashed off to Haridopolos after Tuesday's set-to, Fuller wrote:

"You were in my face on the importance of inclusion of all the side issues, which masked the intent and confirmed defeat, which was to ensure all new hires would be legal workers. You, sir, threw the 1 million unemployed workers in the state under the bus by your actions as leader."

As for Haridopolos' U.S. Senate prospects, tea partier Peggy Martin delivered her own version of realpolitick:

"When Harry Reid, whom I don’t agree with, wants something passed in the U.S. Senate, he offers sweetheart deals. ... So why didn’t Haridopolos offer some kind of incentive to the four [senators] he said really defeated the bill? 

"If Senator Haridopolos doesn’t know how to get a bill through the Florida Senate, then the people of Florida really need to be very concerned before voting for him."

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Comments (5)

A citizen
3:25PM MAY 20TH 2011
The is a major player, that has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to kill any and all bills to protect the citizens of Florida, from the rampage of Illegal immigration. He represents the same group that J.D. Alexander does. His name is Adam Putnam. His family will also benefit from no control on third party contractor, who supply the labor force, to those farmers, and planters, nursery growers, who will sell the rest of us down the tax rat hole created by not stopping Aleins for the welfare, schooling incarsaration, cost incurred in allowing illegal's to flow into this state.
Tea party patriot
1:37AM MAY 20TH 2011
I'm one of the ones that has watched ole "Harri" himself great a tea party crowd, yelling E-VERIFY! While Harri said back that he heard them say E-VERIFY. Yet another venue -I witnessed similar tea party fervor over E-VERIFY. He received E-VERIFY Petitions, faxes, calls, e-mails. Almost 300 peitions. Yet, he says he didn't hear from the tea party. Well, the guy is not only blind, but DEAF and obviously DUMB but has a memory disorder also

Blind, deaf and dumb do not a U.S. Senate candidate make. I rest my case. Sayonara Harri.
11:35PM MAY 19TH 2011
Haridopolous wants to be a U.S. Senator. Shouldn't Florida's Senator have common sense and good judgement. Haridopolous has neither.
3:51PM MAY 19TH 2011
Haridopolos has chosen sides.....He is with the criminal illegal employers and illegal alien workers saying to hell with the Rule of Law....... let anarchy and chaos reign as modern day slavery is alive and well.
Angry Floridian
7:19PM MAY 18TH 2011
The bottom line is who does he represent? The citizens of Florida or the illegals that he allowed to run around praying and singing in our Capitol?

He can spin it any way he wants, bottom line it is his fault.

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