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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

A conspiracy theory for Fla's U.S. Sen race

19

August

If you like politics and you like conspiracy theories, you’ll enjoy this: Speculation that the George LeMieux and Mike McCalister campaigns are working hand in hand to take down former state House majority leader Adam Hasner.

Crazy? Or just crazy enough to work!?

Here are the facts: 1. Both the LeMieux campaign and Hasner campaigns see McCalister, a little known former Army Reserve Col. from Plant City, as bad news for Hasner as both Hasner and McCalister are campaigning for tea party votes.

2. McCalister often criticizes Hasner, but rarely LeMieux.

3. When a veterans group last week raised questions about McCalister’s military record, LeMieux leaped to his defense: "I denounce the unfounded attacks on the military service of Colonel Mike McCalister. The Colonel served our nation honorably in the United States military and he as well as all of our men and women in uniform deserve our gratitude and respect. Any campaign engaging in such baseless attacks should immediately apologize to Colonel McCalister and denounce these tactics."

4. The LeMieux campaign and McCalister campaign often sound like they’re reading from the same script when questioning Hasner’s conservative credentials. 5. LeMieux’s chief consultant, Jon Lerner, worked with the Club for Growth to help  Sharron Angle's U.S. senate race in Nevada last year, and McCalister consultant John Yob was an adviser to Angle.

No, it doesn’t add up to anything solid, but it’s enough to make people suspicious.

"The voters of Florida can draw their own conclusions when campaigns begin to sing off the same hymnal,’’ said Hasner senior adviser Rick Wilson. "Its no surprise that Charlie Crist called George LeMieux "the maestro." As a political operative he was famous for orchestrating smear campaigns against people like Marco Rubio and setting up shady third party groups. It’s no surprise that George LeMieux would attempt to manipulate another campaign to do his dirty work."

The McCalister and LeMieux campaigns scoffed at the suggestion they’re coordinating - in very similar ways.

McCalister adviser Buzz Jacobs: "Adam Hasner is pretending to be a conservative, when in reality he is a self-proclaimed moderate. The only connection between the campaigns is disdain for chameleons."

LeMieux adviser Brian Seitchik: "It seems like the McCalister campaign has sniffed out that Hasner’s a phony conservative just like we have. We’re running our own campaign, they’re running their campaign."

[Last modified: Monday, August 22, 2011 2:49pm]

    

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