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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Haridopolos: Adam Hasner not the conservative he claims to be



r-mike-haridopolos-for-senate-large570.jpgUPDATED with Hasner reaction. See jump.

Breaking his silence a week after dropping out of the U.S. Senate race, Mike Hariodpolos said he's hoping a "true" conservative gets in -- naming U.S. Reps. Allen West and Tom Rooney and "dream candidate" Jeb Bush -- while expressly saying he will not support Adam Hasner.

"I'm still confident there will be a conservative that can truly defeat Bill Nelson because of their record and their accomplishments," Haridopolos told the Buzz moments ago. "One person I will not support in this race is Adam Hasner. I think what he has talked about on the campaign trail vs. his record as a legislator would diminish the chances of Republicans winning in November 2012."

Haridopolos said he was stung by Hasner's criticism of his first term as president of the Florida senate, particularly over the failure of an E-Verify immigration measure. "He had an opportunity for 8 years to get something done on illegal immigration."

He declined to cite more examples but added, "I really feel like his attacks on the Legislature this year were unnecessary. I think the Legislature along with Rick Scott did a tremendous job on moving the conservative ball and as Republicans, we should be proud. I feel he put his own personal campaign over the interests of conservatives."

Haridopolos' decision to drop out of the Republican primary was a shocker, though he was starting to have trouble among grassroots activists, many who were angered over E-Verify. Still, many wondered why a guy who raised more than $3 million would fold so easily. Rumors were rampant, even as Haridopolos said insisted he just could not campaign and run the Florida Senate.

"We left the race for the reason why we left the race," he said. "I know to defeat a person like Bill Nelson you've got to be on the road 24/7 and you need to make sure you get out your positive message. It was just really hard to do that without everybody second-guessing anything the Legislature does."

Haridpolos is leaving the door open for another run. He said he'll return any money that donors ask for (he has to give back general election money no matter what) but implied he could transfer some to another account. "As you know I've already taken myself out of the races for 2012," Haridopolos said. "I'll let the future take care of itself."

Hasner spokesman Douglass Mayer: "How do you quote a shrug? Adam is focused on building on the support he's received from grassroots conservatives across Florida and the country, and we wish Senate President Haridopolos the best."

[Last modified: Thursday, July 28, 2011 5:08pm]


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