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Former U.S. Rep. Ron Klein takes leadership position at Florida Democratic Party

Friday, February 15th, 2013 by Dara Kam

Klein

Former U.S. Rep. Ron Klein is taking a top fundraising spot at the Florida Democratic Party.

Klein, a Boca Raton lawyer ousted from Congress in 2010 by former U.S. Rep. Allen West, will take over as chairman of the state party’s Board of Trustees, according to a press release issued by FDP Chairwoman Allison Tant.

Veteran Democratic fundraiser Andrew Weinstein, a Coral Gables lawyer who served on President Obama’s national finance team, will be the party’s new finance chairman. The appointments are part of FDP Chairwoman Allison Tant’s restructuring of the party since she took over as its chief late last month.

“I couldn’t be more excited that Ron and Andrew are coming on board. They’re proven fundraisers and longtime veterans of Democratic campaigns. And they’re just as focused as I am on defeating Governor Rick Scott and electing Florida Democrats in 2014, 2016, and beyond,” Tant said on the blog.

Klein served as two terms in Congress and 14 years in the state legislature, including a stint as Senate Democratic Leader.

Florida Dems ask Scott to extend early voting

Thursday, November 1st, 2012 by Dara Kam

Florida Democrats are asking Gov. Rick Scott to extend early voting an extra day, blaming the GOP-backed changes to the election law that shrank the number of early voting days for long lines at the polls.

Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith said Scott should take the lead from his predecessor Charlie Crist who extended early voting four years ago in response to long lines around the state and election machine problems in certain counties.

Lawmakers last year cut back on the number of early voting days from 14 to eight and did away with the final Sunday before Election Day. Democrats have historically used early voting in greater numbers than Republicans in Florida.

Although the number of early voters casting ballots was down in Palm Beach County from four years ago, voters are still having to wait in long lines, in part because of the 11 proposed constitutional amendments placed on the ballot by lawmakers. About a third of Florida voters are expected to vote early either by mail or in person before Tuesday’s election.

Voters in Palm Beach County continue to wait as much as two hours to cast ballots at the county’s 14 early polling places. On Wednesday, 14,615 voters cast ballots – down 90 votes from Saturday – the busiest day at the polls with 15,525 county voters casting early ballots.

Smith joined former state and senator Dan Gelber in making the demand on Scott.

Here’s Smith’s statement:

“In 2008, Floridians had 14 days of early voting — and Florida’s then Republican governor still found it necessary to extend early voting. The long lines at the polls show it was clearly a mistake for the GOP controlled Legislature in Tallahassee to cut early voting in half — but it is past time for Governor Scott to show some leadership and fix that mistake. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue: protecting the right of every eligible Floridian to make their voice heard by participating in our democracy is an American responsibility which every elected leader has sworn to uphold and defend. In light of of the record turnout this year, we call on Governor Scott to extend early voting hours in every county across Florida through Sunday, so that Florida citizens can exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right and freedom to participate in this election.

“To all Floridians of whatever persuasion, do not be deterred from casting your vote. It is the sacred duty of every citizen.”

Leading Republicans didn’t seem too interested Thursday in meeting Smith’s demand.

“There’s no unusual circumstances, no weather-related events,” said Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, moments before leaving Tallahassee for a multi-city bus tour promoting presidential contender Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates.

“There’s nothing out there in the state of Florida that would create the basis for an emergency order,” Putnam said.

In 2008, Crist’s decision to extend daily hours of early voting stunned his then-fellow Republicans and was seen as helping President Obama claim Florida over Republican John McCain. Crist, who has abandoned the GOP, has been campaigning for Obama this fall.

Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll also dismissed the Democrats’ request.

“It’s not the end yet, and we still have Election Day as well, when people certainly can turn out to vote,” Carroll said.

Fla Dems edge out Republicans in voter registrations last month

Friday, April 13th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Florida Democrats are picking up steam heading into the general election, beating the GOP in lassoing new voters last month by 8 percent, according to data released by the Florida Democratic Party today.

Registered Democrats in Florida now total 4,955,094 – 40 percent of Florida’s 12,328,235 registered voters – as of April 1, holding a 4 percent lead of the GOP, with 4,408,461 registered voters. Twenty-four percent – 2,964,680 – of Floridians are registered with no party affiliation. And independents grew by a larger percentage than either party last month, with 41 percent of new voters, or 23,333, shunning both the GOP and the Dems.

While the Democrats are crowing about the new registration numbers, they’re still down overall from earlier this year. Figures released by the Division of Elections in January showed 40.5 percent of Floridians registered as Democrats and about 36.2 percent as Republicans.

And Democrats still hold a smaller lead over Republicans than four years ago, when the gap favored Democrats by 5.8 percent heading into the 2008 presidential elections.

But that didn’t stop Democratic party officials from bragging about the March registrations.

“The Republicans’ Tea Party extremism and their continued assault on women and the middle class is turning off Florida voters,” FDP executive director Scott Arceneaux said in a press release. “The Democratic message of economic fairness and helping businesses create jobs — coupled with our strong grassroots organizing across the state — set the stage for us to out-register Republicans yet again and maintain our overall registration advantage. Florida Democrats are entering the general election season strong.”

More Hispanics, the subject of intense outreach by the GOP, also registered as Democrats in March, beating out Republicans by 46 to 17 percent.

Bondi sends redistricting plans to Supreme Court

Friday, February 10th, 2012 by John Kennedy

Attorney General Pam Bondi sent the Legislature’s redistricting plans to the Florida Supreme Court on Friday — a move that will start justices’ review of the maps.

Under state law, Bondi had 15 days to act. But she sent the proposals to the court about 24 hours after they earned final approval from the state Senate.

Justices will have 30 days to examine the plans.  The court is asked to determine if the plans for redrawing the state’s 40 Senate districts and 120 House seats complies with state law, including new constitutional standards requiring that boundaries be drawn without concern for incumbents or either political party.

The Florida Democratic Party has already filed suit in Leon County Circuit Court against the congressional map, also approved Thursday.

Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign the plan into law next week. Scott’s action is expected to bring another lawsuit by the League of Women Voters, La Raza and Common Cause of Florida, which contend the Legislature’s ruling Republicans designed the plan to help the party maintain its majority in the congressional delegation.

 

 

 

UPDATE: FL Dems want to know – What have Republicans done for you lately?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 by Dara Kam

UPDATE: Florida Republicans call the Dems new website “desperate.” This from Republican Party of Florida spokesman Brian Hughes: “With the most recent state reports showing RPOF outraised Florida Democrats by 5-to-1, it’s no surprise they are desperate to raise money. But this lame website demonstrates a level of desperation that is even worse than we thought possible. Instead of touting their anointed leaders, Barack Obama or Debbie Wasserman Schultz, they recycle ridiculous, cheap attacks. This tactic is more evidence why Floridians reject Democrats on Election Day.”

The Florida Democratic Party launched a new website today blaming Gov. Rick Scott and his fellow Republican lawmakers for the state’s dire economic straits.

The website accuses “Rickpublicans” of ethical lapses and causing teacher layoffs, among other things, and blasts Scott for “backsliding” on his campaign pledge to create 700,000 jobs over seven years as governor.

And the Dems remind viewers that Republicans have had a stranglehold on the state legisalture and governor’s mansion for more than a decade.

The site gives this definition of a “Rickpublican:”
[rick-puhb-li-kuh´n]
noun
1. Proper name for Florida Republicans wrought with greed and corruption who are hell-bent on selling out to the corporations and special interests while leaving Florida’s middle class families out-to-dry.

The Dems also use “Six Degrees of Separation” to link half a dozen GOP politicians – including Palm Beach County’s Adam Hanser and U.S. Rep. Allen West – to Scott, whose popularity among voters remains dim.

Worst budget year and ideology drives GOP cuts

Sunday, March 6th, 2011 by John Kennedy

Facing the worst budget year in memory, new Republican Gov. Rick Scott and the GOP-packed Florida Legislature begin the 2011 session this week, pledging to slash spending and make good on campaign pledges that powered them last fall.

With the approach of the opening day Tuesday, unions, teachers and scores of groups in the cross hairs of budget cuts have been rallying against Scott and fellow Republican leaders who, in turn, are pulling support from tea party loyalists eager to shrink government.

Though it hasn’t commanded the national attention of Wisconsin and other partisan battlegrounds, purple state Florida is in for a bruising spring, with lawmakers looking to close a $3.6 billion budget hole and revive an economy flat-lined by an almost 12 percent jobless rate.

“Priority number one is the budget,” said House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park. “Everything else is number two.”

But it’s not a simple numbers game.

Political ideology is shading most of the exchanges between Republicans in power and Democrats pushed to Florida’s fringe by the November elections.

Read full story here:   http://bit.ly/fY27Vb

 

 

Scott and GOP’s plans fire Dems for ’12 campaigns

Sunday, February 27th, 2011 by John Kennedy

Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature’s ruling Republicans have kicked over a political hornet’s nest by promoting budget cuts, pension overhauls and civil justice changes, which are now emerging as targets for statewide rallies by Democratic-allied organizations.

The GOP’s tough medicine for a state pocked by foreclosures and almost 12 percent unemployment may be breathing life into a Florida Democratic Party, virtually left for dead after wholesale election defeats last fall. It also may effectively prove the opening round of the 2012 presidential contest in the nation’s biggest battleground state.

“Democrats last fall were down and outspent,” said Susannah Randolph, campaign manager for defeated Orlando Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson and now an organizer of the March 8 rallies.

“Now we’re seeing that we have to respond to a threat level like DEFCON 1,” said Randolph, who also is a leader of Florida Watch Action. “And sure, we want to keep this energy going.”

Using a Facebook page, “Awake The State,” organizers are planning events in most major Florida cities on the legislature’s opening day. Although locations are still being determined, teachers and public employees’ unions, including police and firefighters, are forming the core of those protesting expected cuts in education, pensions and government workforces.

Counter-punching, tea party supporters are rallying behind Scott, and looking to converge on the state Capitol for the session’s launch, which coincides with the new governor’s first State of the State address.

Florida’s spring training season goes beyond baseball.  The parties are gearing up for the 2012 campaigns by energizing their political bases around Scott and the Legislature’s plans.

Bondi’s move on rights continues to draw pushback

Friday, February 25th, 2011 by John Kennedy

Sen. Arthenia Joyner of  Tampa and Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich of Weston on Friday renewed Democratic call for Attorney General Pam Bondi to drop her push to tighten Florida’s standards for restoring civil rights to felons after they completed their sentences.

 ”With a staggering unemployment rate of 12 percent, I’d think the attorney general would want to support any effort to help Floridians who have fully paid their debts to society, to find work,”  Rich said.

In a shocker for civil rights advocates and Democrats, Attorney General Pam Bondi is looking to undo Florida’s limited automatic restoration of rights for felons. Bondi said she was likely to have a proposal to put before Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet next month.

“I don’t believe any felon should have an automatic restoration of rights,” the Republican Cabinet member told reporters Thursday morning. “I believe you should have to ask, and there should be an appropriate waiting period” of three to five years.

Joyner, though, said she felt Bondi’s move was aimed at placating tough-on-crime tea party advocates.

“From fighting Floridians access to family doctors, to withholding civil rights, it seems the Republican politicians are more interestedin hurting Florida than helping her,” Joyner said Friday.

UPDATE: Senate prez says ‘nope’ to moving primaries back

Thursday, February 10th, 2011 by Dara Kam

UPDATE: Gov. Rick Scott and the Senate prez disagree on whether Florida should move back the presidential primary from January to March.

Here’s what Scott said on the issue today:

“My belief is I don’t want to lose any of the delegates, so I want to have it as early as we can. But I don’t want to lose any of the delegates,” Scott told reporters. That sort of sounds like he doesn’t want to anger national GOP leaders who will punish the state by slashing its number of delegates if the primaries aren’t later.

Senate President Mike Haridopolos says he’s “comfortable with where we’re at right now” regarding Florida’s early primaries that caused partisan turmoil three years ago.

“I didn’t see it as chaos. I thought it was great. I thought that Florida was a player,” said the Merritt Island Republican who’s seeking a spot on the national stage in the U.S. Senate. “Florida influenced in a huge way not just who won the presidency but who the nominee was. I think that was a good thing.”

Sen. Arthenia Joyner, a Democrat from Tampa, filed a bill this week that would push back Florida’s presidential primary until March after Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith asked his GOP counterpart Dave Bitner to support the move.

(more…)

UPDATE: Dems outraged over Scott secret withdrawal of redistricting amendments

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 by Dara Kam

UPDATE: A spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott responded to his withdrawal of redistricting amendments for federal approval.

“Consistent with Governor Scott’s effort to assess the rules, regulations and contracts of the previous administration, he has withdrawn the letter requesting a DOJ review of Amendments 5 and 6. Census data has not been transmitted to the state yet and the Legislature will not undertake redistricting for months, so this withdrawal in no way impedes the process of redrawing Florida’s legislative and congressional districts,” Scott spokesman Brian Hughes said in an e-mail.

In his first few days on the job, Gov.Rick Scott quietly withdrew the state’s request for a federal go-ahead to move forward with two redistricting amendments overwhelmingly approved by voters in November.

Scott sent the request to the U.S. Department of Justice, which has to sign off on any changes to Florida elections laws affecting voters’ rights, on Jan. 7, just two days after he announced the reappointment of Department of State Secretary Kurt Browning. After Browning left Gov. Charlie Crist’s administration last year, he headed up a political committee that fought Amendments 5 and 6, aka the “Fair Districts” amendments. Crist’s temporary secretary of the state department submitted the application for “preclearance” to DOJ officials on Dec. 10

Scott’s move, offered with no explanation to the feds and no public announcement, left Democrats and supporters of the amendments hopping mad, and the state’s top Democrat is demanding Scott resubmit the preclearance application.

(more…)

Rod Smith new Dem chief? ‘I believe I’ll be the appointee’

Thursday, November 18th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Despite grumblings from Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel to the contrary, former state Sen. Rod Smith insists he’ll be the next state party chairman.

“I believe I’ll be the appointee,” said Smith, a Gainesville-area former prosecutor who most recently was Alex Sink’s running-mate in her losing bid for governor.

His bid to replace Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman, who is retiring, got a boost yesterday when an officer of the Alachua County party stepped down to make room for Smith.

Smith would have to be elected the chairman of the county executive committee or state committee man before he can be eligible to run as head of the FDP.

Once that happens, Smith said he’ll continue to build support from activists, donors and other county leaders.

“It’s a process that’s ongoing. It sometimes appears slow and ponderous but it’s an important process that allows people to have input about their concerns,” Smith, 61, said.

(more…)

Rod Smith not a done deal as Fla Dem chief

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Some Democrats are pulling together a serious challenge to former state Sen. Rod Smith’s bid to succeed Karen Thurman as head of the Florida Democratic Party.

A handful of major South Florida donors are pushing Joe Garcia, a Miami lawyer and former Public Service Commissioner who just lost a Congressional race to David Rivera.

Dems backing Garcia want a Hispanic in charge of the party to help corral Latino voters who were so crucial to President Obama’s election two years ago.

Watch to see if Garcia gets added to the Miami-Dade County Democratic Executive Committee over the next few weeks.

Garcia would have to join the DEC and get elected the chairman or state committee man before he can run as head of the FDP. That means one of the two Democrats who hold those posts would have to resign to make room for Garcia.

Rod Smith to announce Monday he wants to be new top Dem

Friday, November 12th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Former state Sen. Rod Smith will announce Monday he’s ready to take over the helm of the Florida Democratic Party as a replacement for Karen Thurman, who resigned today.

Smith, just off the campaign trail after running as Alex Sink’s running mate in her losing bid for governor, said he’s trying to build a consensus among Democrats smarting from major losses in this month’s elections in Florida and nationally.

Apart from Gov.-elect Rick Scott’s victory, Republicans swept the Florida Cabinet and nailed down a veto-proof super-majority in both the state House and Senate.

“I’m going to try to create a culture of success,” said Smith, a Gainesville lawyer and former prosecutor who earned a reputation as a dynamic orator during his tenure as a state senator.

Smith said he’s trying to get the support of a handful of other Democrats who’ve thrown their hats in the ring to replace Karen Thurman, who resigned today.

“I want to be a unifier. I don’t want to create division,” said Smith, a “This isn’t like a lot of campaigns. This is about trying to make sure that you first do no harm. Right now I’m focusing on trying to convince people that this is the right thing to do for me and for the party but I also remain open to listening to people’s concerns.”

Smith, who’s got behind-the-scenes backing of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, said he’s already won the support of Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel, who said Friday he’ll support Smith’s bid.

Whoever takes over for Thurman has their work cut out for them, said Broward County Democratic Chairman Mitch Ceasar.
(more…)

Dem chairwoman Thurman quitting

Friday, November 12th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman is stepping down after the drubbing Democrats received on Election Day in the Sunshine State and throughout the nation.

Democrats have been demanding Thurman’s resignation after Republicans swept the Cabinet, the governor’s race and secured a veto-proof majority in both the state House and Senate.

Only 51 Democrats remain in the 160 seats in the legislature although Democratic voters still outnumber Republicans in Florida.

Former state Sen. Rod Smith, who was losing gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink’s running-mate, is chief among those in line to replace Thurman, a former U.S. Rep. who’s served as chairwoman for six years.

State Dem party leader Thurman should step down, senator says

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 by Dara Kam

After getting trounced in the Florida House and Senate races and a GOP sweep of the Cabinet, state Sen. Jeremy Ring is demanding that Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman resign.

“With the momentum of all the losses on the Democratic sides, there needs to be new leadership. Karen Thurman needs to resign. Immediately,” Ring, D-Margate, said of the Florida Democratic Party chairwoman early today.

Republicans swept the Cabinet seats and won a veto-proof majority in both the state Senate and ultimately recaptured the governor’s seat after Palm Beach County’s election returns left Rick Scott’s victory in the lurch overnight.

Ring, a moderate Democrat who frequently votes with Republicans, said the “election activities of the Republicans trumping the Democrats” at polling places he visited on Election Day demonstrate that his party is in a shambles.

“Whether it was hundreds of more signs and volunteers and palm cards and all the precincts covered, I didn’t see any coordinated effort on the Democratic side yesterday,” Ring said.

Ring was among several prominent Democrats who tried to oust Thurman when she was reelected as chairwoman two years ago.

Those efforts failed because no replacement could be found, Ring said.

He blamed Thurman for that.

“Part of any leader’s job is not to only raise money and recruit candidates but they should recruit their successor…part of her job is to have a succession plan. Clearly there isn’t one,” he said.

Sink two-minute ad goes after Scott on fraud

Monday, October 11th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Florida Democrats are running an unusual, two-minute campaign ad slamming GOP governor candidate Rick Scott for fraud charges and fines against his health care companies.

The ad, “Fraud Files,” mimics TV crime shows and is styled as an investigative piece on the $1.7 billion in Medicare fraud fines paid by HCA/Columbia, the company Scott founded, and questions about a federal investigation into another Scott health care company, Solantic.

The ad makes much of Scott’s use 77 times of the Fifth Amendment in a deposition he made six days before announcing he was running for governor. Scott has refused to release a videotape of the deposition.

Scott’s opponent Alex Sink, the state’s chief financial officer, held a press conference in Tampa announcing the release of the ad, which will run in the Tampa Bay area during nightly news programs.

Guv race ad wars: Dems run two new ads blasting Scott

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010 by Dara Kam

The Florida Democratic Party released two new TV ads today, one a hard-hitting attack piece bashing GOP gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott and the other a softer piece promoting opponent Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink.

The first ad, titled “Trust,” features clips from television news reports of Scott evading reporters asking questions about the $1.7 billion in fines Scott’s former company Columbia/HCA was forced to pay the federal government for Medicare fraud.

It ends with a reporter asking Scott “The question is how could you have missed such an abuse by your own company?”
(more…)

Democratic Governors’ Assoc. gives cash infusion to Fla Dems for Sink race

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 by Dara Kam

The Democratic Governors Association gave Florida Democrats a $2 million cash infusion to aid Alex Sink in her race against Rick Scott, Politico is reporting this morning.

According to Politico, the DGA wired the cash into the Florida Democratic Party’s account and will be spent on television ads.

Democrats nationally are eying the Florida race with the hope that Chief Financial Officer Sink can score a coup for Democrats, who’ve been out of the governor’s mansion since former Lt. Gov. Buddy McKay lost to Jeb Bush in 1998. Sink’s husband Bill McBride made a losing against Bush four years later.

Scott spent more than $50 million of his own money – much of it on advertising – to defeat Attorney General Bill McCollum in the GOP primary last month.

Dems shut down McCollum anti-corruption hotline

Monday, February 15th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Attorney General Bill McCollum continues to defer to GOP party leaders instead of ordering an investigation into possible criminal conduct regarding credit card abuses at the Republican Party of Florida.

McCollum today said he may ask the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to look into the matter but that he would wait until the new chairman of the RPOF – expected to be Sen. John Thrasher – is elected this weekend.

Also today, Florida Democrats shut down McCollum’s anti-corruption hotline, filling up the 800 number’s voice mail in an effort to draw attention to McCollum’s refusal to investigate the credit card charges even after other top Republicans want the books opened.

McCollum said he won’t ask for inquiry until an audit of the RPOF is complete and he gets direction from the new party chairman to move although Gov. Charlie Crist last week said that party officials should open the books now.

“I’m waiting about what the new chairman might discover. I don’t see any evidence at this point of criminal behavior,” McCollum said today after a speech to the National Federation of Independent Business.

(more…)

What they’re saying about LeMieux and Crist

Friday, August 28th, 2009 by Dara Kam

Martinez

Martinez

U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez:“I congratulate George LeMieux for being appointed by the governor to fill the remainder of my term. George is bright, capable, and an accomplished
administrator. My staff and I stand ready to ensure a smooth transition.”

Rubio

Rubio

Former House Speaker Marco Rubio, who is running against Crist in the GOP primary to replace Martinez: “This is a disappointing pick for Florida. George LeMieux is a talented political operative and the governor’s best friend, but that doesn’t make him the right choice to represent Florida in the Senate. Governor Crist had a wealth of consistent and principled conservative candidates to choose from, all of whom would have been a reliable check and balance on the excesses of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda.”

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate: “Governor Crist was afforded a high responsibility with this appointment. Instead, he treated this process like a mockery, politicizing his selection by flying around the state at taxpayers’ expense, touring major media markets and drawing this selection out. Well respected Floridians with a wealth of elected service experience from Congressman Clay Shaw to Mayor John Delaney to various Hispanic leaders were in a position to hit the ground running if appointed, but that possibility is now nonexistent.”

jimgreerRepublican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer: “Once again, Charlie Crist has demonstrated his commitment to serving Floridians, by appointing George LeMieux who is well qualified, a dedicated public servant, conservative Republican and an excellent choice!”

Progress Florida executive director Mark Ferrulo: “It’s shocking. We wonder why Gov. Crist didn’t just appoint himself if he was going to pick his former chief of staff and campaign ‘maestro’. “The so-called ‘People’s Governor’ has made clear through this appointment that he places personal loyalty and his own political benefit above the interests of Floridians.”

McCollum

McCollum

Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican running to replace Crist as governor: “I congratulate George LeMieux on his appointment as Florida’s U.S. Senator. I have known George for a long time, both as a friend and as a former Deputy Attorney General, a capacity in which he served this office
well. I wish him the best in serving the people of Florida in the U.S. Senate.”

Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Hari Sevugan: “With Florida’s economy in shambles, Charlie Crist could have selected a Senator who would be able to hit the ground running in Washington to tackle the problems that face Floridians. In appointing a political crony as a placeholder until he can run for Senate himself, Charlie Crist is using the Governorship to advance his own political ambitions rather than advancing the lives of the Floridians he was elected to serve.”

Wexler

Wexler

U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, a Democrat from Boca Raton: “In short, George LeMieux will make an excellent Senator. I wish him great success and look forward to working with him in any way I can.”

Republican operative and political consultant Mac Stipanovich: “He was not the obvious choice.”

Hammer

Hammer

Marion Hammer, former NRA president who now lobbies for the same organization and the Unified Sportsmen of Florida: “The NRA and Unified Sportsmen of Florida are very pleased with Governor Crist’s appointment of George LeMieux as Florida’s new junior U.S. Senator. George is rated ‘A’ by the NRA and will be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment in the U.S. Senate. Gun owners can count on George LeMieux to fight to protect freedom and the Second Amendment.”

Florida Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff: “This is just one more example of the Republican leadership in Tallahassee putting cronyism and corruption above the people of our state. From Ray Sansom, to former lobbyist Bill McCollum, to George LeMieux, it is clear that we must stand together and pledge to end the Republican culture of cronyism and corruption in Tallahassee.”

Shaw

Shaw

Former U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw, who was a finalist on Crist’s list of possible Martinez replacements and for whom LeMieux once worked as an intern: “George is a very, very capable guy and I’m sure he’ll do a good job. He’s a quick study, he’s articulate, he’s very close to the governor. I think it’s a good choice.”

Bogdanoff

Bogdanoff

State Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, active with LeMieux in Broward County GOP politics since the mid-1990s: “He’s a smart guy, politically savvy, a hard worker. There’s nothing negative to say about George….He’s certainly smart enough to wade through the issues.”

Fordham

Fordham

Kirk Fordham, head of the Everglades Foundation: “George LeMieux is the right pick for Florida. He has a deep understanding of a wide range of regional issues that are unique to Florida. When it comes to protecting the people’s water supply and restoring the Everglades, we couldn’t ask for a better ally than we’ll have in Senator George LeMieux.”

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