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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

LeMieux urges Crist to stay course -- as a Republican



Sen. George LeMieux spoke with Charlie Crist for 20 minutes today about his possible run as an independent. "My view is that he should run as a Republican," LeMieux said moments ago. "He is a good Republican and he should run to win the Republican primary."

"This is a challenging time," LeMieux said of his former boss and the man who installed him as senator last year when Mel Martinez quit.

LeMieux refused to say whether he would back Crist as an independent or get behind Marco Rubio, the leading Republican in the U.S. Senate primary. "That's the hypothetical I'm not going to deal with. You know my position. I believe Charlie Crist should run as a Republican."

He also refused to engage when asked whether he would put aside his own political ambition if Crist decided to focus his energy on 2012, when Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is up for re-election.

LeMieux wasn't the only one calling on Crist. Sen. John Cornyn, the Texas lawmaker who heads up the Senate election efforts for Republicans, said he traded messages with Crist last night but never connected.

"I'm trying to find out what his intentions are. I hope he stays as a Republican. I'm going to talk to him about that. I think he has two choices: One would be to run in the primary, and the other would be choose not to run in the primary but to run again in, let's say, 2012. That preserves his options. That would be my hope, that he preserves his options."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:30am]


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