Mel Martinez congratulates LeMieux, and other reaction on Crist's pick for U.S. Senate
Retiring Sen. Mel Martinez: “I congratulate George LeMieux for being appointed by the governor to fill the remainder of my term. George is bright, capable, and an accomplished administrator. My staff and I stand ready to ensure a smooth transition."
Sen. Bill Nelson: “There are some very important and immediate issues facing Florida, such as health care and protecting the military’s testing and training ranges in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Sen. Bill Nelson, following Gov. Crist’s appointment of George LeMieux to the United States Senate. “I intend to have a good personal and bipartisan relationship with the new senator, as I have had with Mel Martinez.”
Democratic Chair Karen Thurman: "Today, Charlie Crist decided to play political games with the public's trust by appointing George LeMieux to the U.S. Senate. This glaring example of political cronyism is the last thing Florida needed while we face these tough economic times and the Congress is tackling critical issues such as health insurance reform and global warming. In appointing LeMieux, someone who has made millions over the past several years selling access to Crist to the highest bidders among Tallahassee's special interests, Charlie Crist once again put his own political ambition above doing what is right for Florida. Floridians are sick of the Republican culture of corruption and the Tallahassee back room dealings that clearly led Crist to pick LeMieux, whose only qualification is being Charlie Crist's crony."
RPOF Chair Jim Greer:: “Once again, Charlie Crist has demonstrated his commitment to serving Floridians, by appointing George LeMieux who is well qualified, a dedicated public servant, conservative Republican and an excellent choice!,” said Chairman Greer.
Barney Bishop, Associated Industries of Florida: “On behalf of Florida’s business community, we congratulate George on his appointment to the U.S. Senate and thank Gov. Crist for selecting someone who not only knows the issues, but will approach them with an eye for the impacts it will have on Florida’s economy and employers. At a time when Congress’ actions on issues such as health care reform, climate change and card check have great bearing on Florida’s economic resurgence, George is the right man for the job. We look forward to working with the state’s newest Senator on the issues most important to the business community and hardworking Floridians.”
Mark Ferrulo, Progress Florida executive director: "It's shocking. We wonder why Gov. Crist didn't just appoint himself if he was going to pick his former chief of staff and campaign 'maestro'. The so-called 'People's Governor' has made clear through this appointment that he places personal loyalty and his own political benefit above the interests of Floridians. In the next seventeen months, the U.S. Senate will vote on some of the most profound issues in the history of our country including health care reform, an overhaul of financial services and climate change. Instead of an experienced statesman looking out for the best interests of Floridians in these critical debates, we get a partisan political operator who will vote based on one criteria and one criteria only - what will best help his former boss win election in 2010.
Gov. Charlie Crist: “George LeMieux has the proven strength of character and record of leadership Floridians can trust will serve our state well in the coming months,” said Governor Crist. “I have had the great honor to work with so many hard working public servants who choose to put service above self in ways that inspire and encourage me to continue my commitment to the people each and every day. George LeMieux has been a tremendous example of this very type of commitment.”
Republican strategist J.M. "Mac" Stipanovich: "I'm stunned. George LeMieux is a great guy and very capable. But you've got a list that has a former U.S. Attorney who was the go-to guy of three governors; you've got the mayor of a major city, a chancellor and univcersity president; you've got a guy who won repeated statewide elections;you've got a guy who served decades in congress. And you pick George?"
Pinellas Republican State Committeeman Tony DiMatteo, a Rubio supporter: "If he picked LeMieux from the very begining, without putting a lot of important people through a public process it would have been better for Charlie.
Pasco Republican state Committeeman Bill Bunting: "The base is going to be very concerned. There is no question this will help Marco Rubio. ... He took a good, personal friend and said you can hold this seat, when you needed someone there with legislative experience."
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek: "The Governor added another addition to his campaign team at taxpayers’ expense. George LeMieux doesn’t represent Floridians facing economic challenges - he represents privileged clients with expense accounts far removed from the realities Floridians are facing. Governor Crist was afforded a high responsibility with this appointment. Instead, he treated this process like a mockery, politicizing his selection by flying around the state at taxpayers’ expense, touring major media markets and drawing this selection out. Well respected Floridians with a wealth of elected service experience from Congressman Clay Shaw to Mayor John Delaney to various Hispanic leaders were in a position to hit the ground running if appointed, but that possibility is now nonexistent."
Greg Truax, at large Republican state executive committee member: "As a conservative Republican, I applaud Gov. Crist’s selection of George LeMieux to serve the rest of Sen. Martinez’s term in the United States Senate. George is a solid citizen, a Floridian with a can-do spirit. Knowing George, I am confident he will be a forceful voice in Washington for Gov. Crist’s and former Florida Sen. Connie Mack’s conservative philosophy of "less taxes, less spending, less government and more freedom."
Democratic U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler: "In choosing George LeMieux to be Florida's next Senator, Governor Crist has reached out to a man I have come to know and respect a great deal. I worked closely with George on the issue of establishing a paper trail for Florida voting machines, as well as other issues, and always found him to be a man of great integrity and intelligence. As the former Chief of Staff to Florida's Governor and the chairman of respected Florida law firm Gunster Yoakley & Stewart, George clearly has the background and knowledge to represent Florida well. In short, George LeMieux will make an excellent Senator. I wish him great success and look forward to working with him in any way I can."
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio: "This is a disappointing appointment for Florida. George LeMieux is a talented political operative and the governor’s best friend, but that doesn’t make him the right choice to represent Florida in the Senate. Governor Crist had a wealth of consistent and principled conservative candidates to choose from, all of whom would have been a reliable check and balance on the excesses of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda."
Kirk Fordham, CEO, Everglades Foundation: "George LeMieux is the right pick for Florida. He has a deep understanding of a wide range of regional issues that are unique to Florida. When it comes to protecting the people's water supply and restoring the Everglades, we couldn't ask for a better ally than we'll have in Senator George LeMieux."