Florida’s leading Republican Senate rivals invoked Hollywood bad boy Charlie Sheen
and Florida GOP pariah Charlie Crist
while trading character attacks this afternoon in an increasingly nasty primary race.
Former appointed Sen. George LeMieux called U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Cape Coral, “the Charlie Sheen of Florida politics,” citing decades-old bar brawls and more recent divorce and financial woes to say Mack “lacks the character and temperament to serve as a United States Senator.”
Mack’s campaign fired back quickly, with campaign manager Jeff Cohen calling LeMieux “the liberal (or is it amoral?) political operative who created Charlie Crist.” LeMieux was Crist’s chief of staff and campaign “maestro” and was appointed by Crist in 2009 to serve the last 16 months of a Senate vacancy. Crist, who fell from favor with Republicans and bolted the party for an independent Senate bid in 2010, is mentioned 11 times in the Mack campaign’s statement.
LeMieux was commenting on recent Miami Herald reporting on Mack’s history, including a 1992 barrroom beatdown at the hands of former baseball star Ron Gant and a loan from his father (former Sen. Connie Mack) to help pay his 2004 taxes.
The Mack campaign responded that LeMieux’s criticisms are only helping Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson and are evidence that LeMieux is “not suitable, eligible or desirable to serve in any elective office, and certainly not in the United States Senate.”
Read their dueling statements after the jump…