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Political analyst David Gergen headlines LeMieux’s opening show

Monday, February 18th, 2013 by Dara Kam

CNN political analyst and former presidential adviser David Gergen will give a speech at the LeMieux Center for Public Policy at Palm Beach Atlantic University on March 21.

Gergen, who worked for Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, will deliver the inaugural speech at the joint venture between West Palm Beach private university and former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux. LeMieux, a Republican, served 19 months in the Senate after then-Gov. Charlie Crist appointed him to fill a vacancy created by U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, who retired.

Here’s the release from the LeMieux center on Gergen’s appearance:

Former U.S. Senator George LeMieux today announced the inaugural speaker for the LeMieux Center for Public Policy at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Presidential advisor, national political analyst and Harvard School of Government Professor David Gergen will speak to students and special guests at the University on Thursday, March 21 at 7pm ET.

In addition to his work at Harvard, Gergen is a senior political analyst for CNN who served during the administrations of four U.S. presidents. He is a professor of public service at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the director of its Center for Public Leadership. In 2000, he published the best-selling book, Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton.

“I am very excited and pleased to welcome David Gergen as the LeMieux Center’s inaugural speaker. As a journalist, an analyst, and a senior advisor to four U.S. presidents, David brings an unparalleled depth of insight into national politics and first-hand accounts of America’s leading political figures,” said Senator LeMieux. “One of the reasons the LeMieux Center was founded at Palm Beach Atlantic was to give students opportunities for conversations about public policy and leadership. There are a series of substantial and ongoing issues facing Florida and America, and a need for thoughtful consideration in how to address these challenges. I look forward to David presenting his insights at the University.”

Mack supporters demand LeMieux go away to ‘benefit the entire party’

Friday, April 20th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Political and financial heavy-weights backing U.S. Rep. Connie Mack are asking George LeMieux step out of the U.S. Senate race, a “difficult and selfless step toward unifying our party now.”

Mack supporters sent a letter to LeMieux saying that with Mack leading in the polls, it’s time for LeMieux to drop out.

“Your withdrawal from the election and endorsement of Connie would be of great benefit to the entire Party as we turn now to the fall elections and unify behind our shared goal of stopping President Obama and Senator Nelson from doing any more damage to our state and country. We thank you for your dedicated service to our Party, and hope that you will not only recognize how important it is for conservatives to win in November, but that you will take the difficult and selfless step toward unifying our Party now,” the group wrote.

The ask comes just days after Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said some influential GOP’ers are trying to convince him to throw his hat into the race because they’re dissatisfied with both LeMieux and Mack and are worried that neither can oust incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

LeMieux spokeswoman Anna Nix responded with a swipe at Mack.

“With Mack the Fourth’s history of violence and financial misconduct, voters will no doubt realize he lacks the maturity to be a United States Senator. George LeMieux is the only candidate who can defeat Bill Nelson in November and end Harry Reid’s reign as Majority Leader,” Nix said in a statement.

Read the entire letter after the jump.
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Down in other polls, Connie Mack-bashing George LeMieux wins over FFRW

Monday, February 20th, 2012 by Dara Kam


After trashing front-runner Connie Mack at a GOP women’s forum Sunday afternoon, George LeMieux emerged as the winner of the group’s straw poll in the Republican U.S. Senate primary.

LeMieux, who served for about 16 months alongside incumbent (and target) U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, is trailing Mack by 30 points in some polls.

But the GOP ladies apparently liked him enough to give him a considerable lead over retired Army Col. Mike McCalister and Mack, who came in last.

The results were interesting, FFRW VP Kim Carroll said in an e-mail, because a poll on the organization’s website prior to Sunday’s event resulted in a virtual three-way tie.

The candidates did not appear together during the two-hour forum, and were only in the same room together briefly, although the trio was scheduled to be on stage at the event’s conclusion.

Mack, who was up first, left the Hotel Duval shortly after fielding prepared questions from the women. McCalister followed, and LeMieux went last, hanging around after the meeting and working the crowd that included some of the state’s most influential Republican women, including RNC Co-Chairwoman Sharon Day. The straw poll of 117 members of the FFRW’s executive committee was held shortly after the forum.

One of the questions specific to LeMieux dealt with an explanation for his ties to former Gov. Charlie Crist, a once-loved politico now anathema to party loyalists after he jumped the GOP to run as an independent in a losing fight for the U.S. Senate against Marco Rubio.

“I’m my own man. And I proved it when I was in the US Senate,” LeMieux said. “I governed based upon my conservative values, your conservative values. A lot of us in this room supported the former governor at one time or another. And he disappointed all of us.”

LeMieux handled his response well, some of those present said.

Each of the candidates appeared separately onstage and were asked questions posed by members and selected and edited by FFRW chairwoman Cindy Graves.

Each candidate was supposed to be hit with a somewhat critical question. LeMieux was asked about his former employer Crist, McCalister was asked about whether he has exaggerated his military career and Mack was asked…nothing.

The Congressman was supposed to be questioned about criticism that he does not spend enough time in his Ft. Myers-area district but instead divides his time between Washington and California, where his wife and fellow congressional colleague U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Mack resides.

“Whoever was given the question to ask didn’t ask it,” Graves said.

Endorsement reversal: Haridopolos backs pal Connie Mack in U.S. Senate race

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 by Dara Kam

One-time U.S. Senate candidate and Senate President Mike Haridopolos is backing long-time friend U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV in the GOP primary, Haridopolos told editors and reporters this morning.

Haridopolos said he’s supporting Mack because he’s disappointed in the negative campaigning that’s dominated the GOP race thus far.

“I was not exactly pleased in the direction in which the senate primary was moving,” Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, told a gathering of reporters and editors at the Associated Press Florida Legislative Planning Session shortly before noon. “I think he’d make an outstanding senator, not just candidate…I want to see us elevate the political discussion. What has disappointed me…is there’s a lot of finger-pointing. Let’s elevate the debate…as opposed to the negative campaigning that’s been done to this point.”

After initially saying he would not get into the race, Mack has now thrown his hat into a crowded GOP field. Former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, former state representative Adam Hasner of Delray Beach, businessman Craig Miller and Mike McAllister are all vying to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat. The four declared GOP candidates have been plagued by underwhelming poll numbers and fundraising.

Early this spring, Mack, a Cape Coral Republican who served in the Florida House alongside Haridopolos, endorsed Haridopolos, who dropped out of the race this summer.

Miss. guv Haley Barbour backs George LeMieux U.S. Senate race

Monday, August 8th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is backing George LeMieux in a heated GOP primary for U.S. Senate.

Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee who briefly considered running in the 2012 presidential race, called LeMieux a “solid conservative” in a statement released this morning by LeMieux’s campaign.

“I am honored to earn the support of a principled conservative like Haley Barbour. When Governor Barbour was RNC Chairman, he helped orchestrate the Republican Revolution in 1994 that built the type of conservative majorities we need to turn our country around,” LeMieux said in the release. “More importantly, from his leadership during hurricane Katrina to his work passing key pro-life legislation, Governor Barbour is a case study in effective conservative governance.”

LeMieux is struggling to shake off his ties to Gov. Charlie Crist, who appointed LeMieux to replace former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez when he resigned mid-term. LeMieux, a one-time close ally to Crist whom the former governor called “The Maestro,” did not seek reelection to the seat, which now-U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio won after Crist quit the GOP and ran against him as an independent.

LeMieux will face off in the primary against Delray Beach’s Adam Hasner, a former state House member who also served as the chamber’s majority leader.

Wealthy Delray Beacher Nick Loeb is toying with entrée into the race but is waiting until gal pal Sofia Vergara, star of Modern Family, gets past the Emmy Awards next month. Chris Ruddy, another Palm Beacher and CEO of the influential West Palm Beach-based conservative publication NewsMax, has ruled out getting into the candidate fray.

A Quinnipiac University poll last week showed that 53 percent of Republican voters remain undecided in the Senate primary but found Plant City tree farmer and retired Army Reserve Col. Mike McCalister leading the current four-candidate field with a meager 15 percent.

Behind McCalister in the poll were both LeMieux, with 12 percent, and Hasner, with 6 percent. Former Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse CEO Craig Miller weighed in with 8 percent support.

LeMieux fares better than Haridopolos on conservative talk show

Monday, June 6th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Despite differences of opinion, U.S. Senate candidate George LeMieux managed to stay on the air with conservative talk-show host Ray Junior this evening, unlike one of LeMieux’ GOP primary opponents, Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

Junior tossed Haridopolos off his show last week for refusing to answer whether he’s vote for or against U.S. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan‘s spending plan.

After a long back-and-forth about commuter rail and SunRail, Junior asked LeMieux the same question.

“Should I give you a five minute answer?” quipped LeMieux, who served 16 months as U.S. senator after being appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to fill a vacancy created by Mel Martinez. “I would have voted for it.”

LeMieux gave a somewhat more rambling response to query about whether or not he supports the Fair Tax proposal that would replace federal income taxes with a national sales tax.

“I think there’s a lot of good things about it,” LeMieux began.

Junior credited LeMieux with knowing enough about Fair Tax to talk about it, and gave him a high grade at the end of the show, but not before putting him on the spot about Charlie Crist, who called LeMieux “the maestro.” The pair’s careers were closely linked until Crist left the Republican party for a losing independent bid for the U.S. Senate last year.

“When did you discover Charlie Crist was a dirtbag?” Junior, who has dubbed himself “America’s loose cannon,” asked.

LeMieux didn’t bite.

“I would not say Charlie Crist is a dirt bag. I would not say anything negative about him,” LeMieux insisted, despite repeated goading by Junior. “Charlie Crist is my friend. I have taken a pledge not to say anything negative about him. I don’t think it’s productive.”

Despite refusing to engage in Crist-bashing, Junior, who also bragged about throwing now-U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster off his show during the 2010 campaign season, gave LeMieux an overall thumbs-up.

“I thought I was going to have to kick him off. He did good. ‘Cause he answered the damn questions,” he said.

Hasner slams LeMieux, calls him untrustworthy and a ‘Charlie Crist Republican’

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 by Dara Kam

The GOP U.S. Senate primary campaign is heating up as former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner of Boca Raton came out swinging today against former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux.

A fund-raising appeal on behalf of Hasner’s Senate exploratory committee calls LeMieux – dubbed by former Gov. Charlie Crist as his “Maestro” – untrustworthy and a “reinvented conservative.”

“Conservatives across Florida and the country shouldn’t just be outraged, we should be insulted. This is the same George LeMieux that once proudly said, ‘I describe myself as a Charlie Crist Republican’ and said he was Crist’s ‘junior partner,’” Hasner said in the fundraising memo entitled “Unbelievable.”

Crist appointed LeMieux to the U.S. Senate to fill in a vacancy created by Mel Martinez, who retired before his term was up. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio now holds the post.

Team Hasner has also launched a “Charlie Crist Republican” website featuring an image of Crist and LeMieux that’s reminiscent of the Crist-President Obama man-hug picture that Marco Rubio used against Crist in the 2010 Senate primary.

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Senate prez officially launches bid for U.S. Senate

Friday, January 14th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Senate President Mike Haridopolos started organizing his U.S. Senate bid with a campaign committee to raise money for the 2012 race.

Haridopolos’ committee – “Friends of Mike H” – launched a Website to accept contributions for the Merritt Island Republican.

Haridopolos is inviting big Republican donors to a “private strategy meeting” in Orlando next month and asking them to bring $10,000 checks, according to an e-mail a GOP fundraiser sent out yesterday.

Haridopolos and what is expected to be a host of others have targeted U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the state’s statewide-elected Democratic holdout. Others who’ve expressed an interest in running against Nelson include former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, an attorney with the West Palm Beach-based Gunster law firm and former aide to Gov. Charlie Crist.

Republicans swept the governor’s seat and the Florida Cabinet and nailed down veto-proof majorities in the state House and Senate in the November elections.

Vivian Myrtetus sets up PR shop

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Public relations doyenne Vivian Myrtetus, Gov. Charlie Crist‘s former spokeswoman, is setting up her own communications shop after leaving U.S. Sen. George LeMieux‘s office in Washington.

Myrtetus worked on Crist’s campaign for governor and served in a variety of other PR posts in Florida government before going to work for LeMieux after Crist appointed him to fill in for U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, who retired early.

Myrtetus’ Beacon Communications Group in Tallahassee will go up against a cadre of other former governors’ press secretaries PR firms, including Ron Sachs and April Herrle, who both served under the late Gov. Lawton Chiles.

Scott stumps in WPB one day before election

Monday, November 1st, 2010 by Dara Kam

Just one day before the crucial vote that will decide whether his $75 million investment paid off, Rick Scott included West Palm Beach in a last-minute appeal to Republicans.

U.S. Sen. George LeMieux climbed on the stage with Scott, also joined by Palm Beach County homeboys U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, outgoing Senate president and chief financial officer candidate Jeff Atwater, and a host of other local officials.

Mark Foley, who once held Rooney’s Congressional seat, also showed up in the crowd at Park Avenue BBQ Grille.

PBC businessman and longtime GOP donor Llywd Ecclestone, who escaped the restaurant parking lot heat under an awning, said he supports Scott’s plan to get the state’s economy back on track.

“He will create jobs and that’s what we need,” Ecclestone said.

But Scott’s pledge of 700,000 jobs is an ambitious goal, the developer acknowledged.

“It’s going to be difficult. It’s not going to be easy,” Ecclestone said.

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LeMieux joins Scott for some Palm Beach BBQ Monday; Clinton visit includes Sink

Sunday, October 31st, 2010 by Dara Kam

U.S. Sen. George LeMieux will join Rick Scott and running-mate Jennifer Carroll in West Palm Beach for some (more) barbecue at the Park Avenue BBQ and Grille around noon tomorrow.

The GOP gubernatorial candidates will also visit their campaign headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale and a school in Davie before a homecoming party in Naples Monday evening capping Scott’s weeklong tour of the state leading up to Election Day.

Scott’s campaign rented the Cambier Park Bandshell and will have a live band to greet Scott, who moved to Naples seven years ago. Scott and his wife Ann’s pals Wayne and Susan Mullican, who joined the Scott family on the bus tour Sunday, took out a full page ad in the Naples Daily News to advertise the event.

Democratic gubernatorial contender Alex Sink will be onstage with the most sought-after Democrats nationwide tomorrow evening: Former president Bill Clinton, who’ll be in the Sunshine State stumping for pal Kendrick Meek. Clinton’s visit – his twelfth for Meek’s U.S. Senate bid – comes after a shakeup over reports that Clinton tried to persuade Meek to drop out of the U.S. Senate race.

Bob Graham and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson will also campaign for Sink in Ft. Myers on Monday, but not only AFTER Scott has already left town.

LeMieux tells colleagues to support Obama, quit worrying about BP

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Republican U.S. Senator George LeMieux urged his Congressional colleagues to support the President Barack Obama’s administration, BP and others working on the Deepwater Horizon disaster and worry about whether the oil giant has done enough to mitigate the disaster later.

“Whether or not the government or British Petroleum have done all they can is an issue that will be sorted out through the various investigations that are already underway. Our number one priority needs to be focusing all of our efforts on stopping the oil spill from becoming larger. It threatens the environment; it threatens our economy; and it must be stopped,” said LeMieux.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is pushing a bill that would vastly expand the amount of money BP and other oil companies would have to pay for oil spills, currently capped by federal law at $75 million. Nelson, a Democrat, wants the cap raised to $10 billion.

Sink rakes in $1.6 million in 3rd quarter

Monday, October 5th, 2009 by Dara Kam

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink raised $1.6 million in the third quarter for her bid to be governor, her campaign reported today.

That brings the Democrat’s total fundraising to more than $4 million with more than a year to next year’s election.

Campaign experts estimate that Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum, the presumptive GOP candidate, will raise and spend upwards of $20 million each to replace Gov. Charlie Crist, who is leaving office after one term to run for U.S. Senate. Crist appointed his closest advisor, George LeMieux, to the post after U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez vacated it more than a year before his term expired.

More than 4,550 donors contributed an average $215 to Sink’s campaign in the third quarter this year, her campaign said in a press release. And she brought in just over $100,000 from online contributions.

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.”

Crist puts Dan Webster on list of U.S. Senate candidates

Thursday, August 20th, 2009 by Dara Kam

WebsterGov. Charlie Crist added former House Speaker Daniel Webster to the list of possible appointments to replace U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez who announced his resignation earlier this month.

Webster is the seventh politician tapped by Crist to apply for the post, which he is leaving office after one term to pursue.

Webster served in the Florida legislature for two decades, winning election to the Florida House where he served as speaker from 1996-1998 before leaving for the state senate where he eventually became Majority Leader.

Webster, an engineer who owns a heating and air conditioning business in Orlando, is a favorite of conservative Republicans who have pressured Crist appoint him to fill Martinez’ seat. Webster actively supported Gov. Mike Huckabee in his presidential bid.

Crist has interviewed several candidates over the past several days:
- State Rep. Jennifer Carroll, R-Jacksonville, the legislature’s only black Republican;
- University of North Florida President John Delaney, Jacksonville’s former mayor and a long-time Crist supporter;
- Miami trial lawyer Bobby Martinez, who served as a U.S. Attorney, headed Crist’s transition team and was appointed to the state Board of Education by Gov. Jeb Bush and reappointed by Crist;
- George LeMieux, Crist’s former chief of staff who also managed his gubernatorial campaign and remains close to the governor.

He’s also considering at least two others:
- Jim Smith, a former Florida Cabinet member who served as both attorney general and secretary of state. Smith, who switched parties from Democrat to Republican, is now a top-tier Tallahassee lobbyist whose partner, Brian Ballard, is also his son-in-law and one of Crist’s chief advisors.
- Long-serving U.S. Rep. Bill Young, an Indian Shores Republican from Crist’s hometown of Pinellas County. Young is in his 20th term in Congress.

Crist adds Bill Young, LeMieux to list of U.S. Senate hopefuls

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 by Dara Kam

youngGov. Charlie Crist is screening long-serving U.S. Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young and former chief of staff George LeMieux to fill U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez’ seat. Martinez quit before his first term ends in 2012.

Crist, who is leaving office after one term to replace Martinez himself, spent yesterday and today interviewing possible candidates – including state Rep. Jennifer Carroll, UNF president John Delaney, former U.S. Attorney Bobby Martinez and LeMieux, a former deputy attorney general under Crist. They’re all Republicans who presumably have no interest in challenging Crist, who is running against former House Speaker Marco Rubio in a GOP primary, for the seat next year.

Also on the list: former state attorney general and secretary of state Jim Smith, now a Tallahassee lobbyist.

Young is in his 20th term in Congress and is from Indian Shores near Crist’s St. Petersburg hometown in Pinellas County.

Crist meets with LeMieux as he considers U.S. Senate pick

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 by Dara Kam

lemieux1Gov. Charlie Crist is meeting with former chief of staff George LeMieux today as he ponders his replacement for U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez who resigned from office earlier this month.

The hastily-added meeting with LeMieux, a close ally who headed Crist’s gubernatorial campaigns and is now the chairman of the largest law firm in the state, raises speculation about whether the governor will tap LeMieux to fill in for Martinez for the remainder of his term.

Crist is seeking the office himself, running against former House Speaker Marco Rubio in a GOP primary next year.

Last week, Crist asked for applications for the temporary post from U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, former attorney general and secretary of state Jim Smith and former U.S. Atttorney Bobby Martinez. Diaz-Balart dropped out of consideration late Monday.

Crist met with Martinez yesterday before hurriedly asking state Rep. Jennifer Carroll, a Republican from Jacksonville and the only black Republican in the legislature, and University of North Florida President John Delaney. He visited with the Jacksonville pair in their hometown yesterday as well.

LeMieux sizes up his own prospects

Monday, May 18th, 2009 by George Bennett

Power lawyer George LeMieux, former chief of staff to Gov. Charlie Crist and former deputy attorney general when Crist was AG, notes in his latest online political newsletter that he’s a potential candidate for AG now that incumbent Bill McCollum is poised to run for governor.lemieux1

He also notes that Dems Dave Aronberg, Dan Gelber and Rod Smith are potential AG candidates (Read more about the looming Democratic battle here).

LeMieux lists Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and state Rep. Tom Grady as potential Republican candidates, then notes: “Yours truly has also been mentioned as a contender, having served three years as Deputy Attorney General – the number two legal officer in the state.”

LeMieux’s prediction: “The AG’s race will be wide open.”

Former Crist chief-of-staff for AG?

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 by George Bennett

WEST PALM BEACH — George LeMieux, who was Gov. Charlie Crist’s chief of staff before becoming chairman of the powerhouse Gunster Yoakley law firm, said tonight he’s “seriously considering” a run for attorney general.

LeMieux

LeMieux

LeMieux was in town giving a summary of the 2009 legislative session for a Norton Museum of Art audience that was sprinkled with elected officials, business leaders and attorneys.

LeMieux was deputy attorney general when Crist was AG. With Attorney General Bill McCollum expected to run for governor, no field-clearing Republican names have been mentioned as potential AG candidates. Potential Democratic candidates include state Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres.

“I have a calling for public service and I think the attorney general’s the best job in government,” LeMieux said. “If it’s something I’m going to do, I will make that decision quickly.”

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