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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

At first GOP Senate debate, 'Crist' tossed around like a dirty word

ST. PETERSBURG — He has been off the public stage for nearly seven months and yet Charlie Crist's shadow still looms over the Florida GOP.

The main Republican candidates for U.S. Senate held their first debate Thursday, and it sometimes felt like a game of who could sound most disdainful of the ex-governor.

"I never supported Charlie Crist in his U.S. Senate race despite a lot of pressure to do that,'' stressed state Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

Former state Rep. Adam Hasner boasted that his antagonism to Crist was well known in Tallahassee.

Crist, who dropped out of the Republican Party while running for U.S. Senate, is never a great topic for former Sen. George LeMieux — he being Crist's former chief of staff, campaign manager and longtime friend. Running in a GOP primary where many staunch conservatives see Crist as a moderate traitor, LeMieux has to keep his distance from the man who appointed him to the fill Mel Martinez's unexpired term. (story here)

[Last modified: Friday, July 1, 2011 2:10am]

    

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