George LeMieux Picks Up Support for Senate Run
Around the State
While former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner has garnered several endorsements of Florida legislators for his bid to take on Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux announced on Wednesday that five Republicans in the Legislature were backing his bid.
Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, endorsed LeMieux. So did four Republicans in the House -- Jason Brodeur of Sanford, Matt Gaetz of Shalimar, George Moraitis of Fort Lauderdale and John Tobia of Melbourne. Brodeur and Moraitis were elected to the House for the first time in November 2010, while Gaetz and Tobia were in the Republican caucus when Hasner led it.
“It is a great honor to be endorsed by conservative leaders throughout the state,” said LeMieux in a statement. “These legislators spend their time in Tallahassee fighting for conservative values and fiscal responsibility and they know I will represent their priorities in Washington. I am proud to have their support to fight Bill Nelson’s job-killing, fiscally irresponsible agenda.”
The legislators played up LeMieux's conservative credentials.
“George LeMieux is the only proven candidate in the race,” said Wise, who represents parts of Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns counties. “He has already shown Florida he will stand up against Washington’s wasteful spending and job-killing policies. He is a true conservative and has a voting record to prove it.”
The four representatives also stressed that LeMieux -- who was appointed to the U.S. Senate by then-Gov. Charlie Crist, who remains a persona non grata with Florida Republicans for running for LeMieux’s seat with no party affiliation in 2010--was a conservative.
“George LeMieux's laser-focus on the national debt sets him apart in the U.S. Senate race,” said Gaetz, the son of incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville. “He is a conservative of conviction, not convenience. When George LeMieux defeats Bill Nelson, Florida will have sent Marco Rubio the backup he desperately needs in Washington.”
Brodeur praised LeMieux’s “conservative track record.” Moraitis cheered LeMieux’s “unwavering commitment to put our nation’s fiscal house in order” and his support of “lower taxes and responsible government.” Tobia called LeMieux a “steadfast, conservative leader.”
Hasner has won the backing of a number of prominent legislators that he served with during his eight years in the Florida House, including former speakers Allan Bense and Larry Cretul. 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.
Other Republican candidates challenging Nelson, besides Hasner and LeMieux, include retired Army officer and businessman Mike McCalister, who garnered more than 10 percent of the vote 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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