Adam Hasner, now part of a crowded field of Republican candidates looking to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, announced Tuesday that he had the support of former Florida House Speaker Larry Cretul. Cretul, who served as speaker while Hasner was majority leader, will be a co-chairman of the Hasner campaign.
Cretul and Hasner were both first elected to the House in 2002 and they served until term limits forced them out in 2010. Cretul, who served as speaker from 2009 until 2010, praised his former House colleague Tuesday.
"I'm endorsing Adam because he is the Republican Party's best choice to defeat Senator Nelson and take a mainstream conservative message to Washington," said Cretul. "During his service in the Florida House, Adam built an impressive record and was a forceful spokesman for the principles and ideas of our party -- even when it wasn't popular. Adam is a fighter and the only candidate in the race with a consistent, limited-government record that voters can trust to be a reliable alternative to the agenda we see coming out of Washington today."
"Larry is a good friend who has served our state with distinction during some challenging times, said Hasner. I've always respected his work as a small-business man, a husband, a father, and a grandfather. He's an economic champion who understands the kind of change we need to make in Washington in order to turn our country around and extend the blessings of liberty to the next generation. His endorsement is a testament to the support we are receiving across Florida for our campaign to fight the status quo in Washington and save America's exceptionalism."
Cretul, who represented parts of Alachua, Levy and Marion counties for eight years, is just the latest in a series of Republican legislative leaders to back Hasner. Hasner has also won the support of former Florida House Speaker Allan Bense who had been a possible candidate to enter the Senate race. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, the Miami Republican who replaced him as House Majority Leader, has also backed Hasner. So have two former House colleagues now serving in the Florida Senate -- Alan Hays of Umatilla and Anitere Flores of Miami. Other legislative leaders backing Hasner include Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, and Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood. Hasner has also won the backing of several prominent national conservatives, including pundits Mark Levin, Erick Erickson and Monica Crowley and Ohio Republican leader Ken Blackwell. Several national conservative organizations -- including American Future Fund, Concerned Women for America and FreedomWorks -- have also backed Hasner.
Despite this support for Hasner, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieuxs team continues to attempt to chip away at their Republican primary rivals conservative credentials. LeMieux has his own conservative suport, including the backing of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and the National Tax Limitation Committee PAC.
The latest attack takes aim at Hasner for a mailing in 2004 which included a clip from a newspaper praising him for moderate leanings.
It did not take long for Hasners dishonest political rhetoric to crumble, said Brian Seitchik, LeMieuxs campaign manager, on Monday. Hasner should have known better than to masquerade as a true conservative when only a few years ago he was advertising his moderate leanings in his own campaign literature. Not only is Adam Hasner running from his moderate eight-year voting record in Tallahassee, now hes running from his past campaigns.
Other Republican candidates challenging Nelson, besides Hasner and LeMieux, include retired Army officer and businessman Mike McCalister, who garnered more than 10 percent in the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary; former Ruth's Chris CEO Craig Miller who ran for Congress in 2010; conservative writer Marielena Stuart; Bill Fisher, a consultant who ran for Congress in 2010; attorney Deon Long who ran for Congress in 2010; businessman Ron McNeil who ran for Congress in 1982 and 2010; and Dr. Mirand Sharma, a physician and Ron Paul supporter. Potential candidates include U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and businessman Nick Loeb who ran for the state Senate in 2010.
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