George LeMieux not saying what his plans are
He sounds exactly like a candidate but Republican U.S. Sen. George LeMieux is not saying what he’ll do when his 16-month term ends in January.
"If I do something, I will probably announce it by the first of the year," LeMieux said Tuesday after speaking to Capital Tiger Bay in Tallahassee. LeMieux is widely expected to oppose U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012.
For now he’s balancing his final duties in Washington with a post on the transition team of Gov.-elect Rick Scott. LeMieux said he hasn’t had an opportunity to talk with Scott about high-speed rail but believes the state should go ahead with plans to develop a Tampa-to-Orlando line that would be primarily funded with federal money. Scott has indicated he is not interested in pursuing it unless Washington supplies all of the money.
LeMieux served as chief of staff for Gov. Charlie Crist during his first year in office and says he has spoken to Crist since last week’s election after months of no contact. Responding to questions, LeMieux said it was very difficult for him to endorse former House Speaker Marco Rubio in the race against his old boss, but he felt he had no alternative but to "stand by my principles.''
He compared himself to Sir Thomas More, former counselor to King Henry VIII, who refused to recognize the king as head of the Catholic Church. "More got beheaded; thankfully that didn’t happen to me,’" LeMieux joked.
-- Lucy Morgan, Times senior correspondent