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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

New name surfaces in L.G. guessing game: George LeMieux



It doesn't take much to stoke the most popular parlor game in Tallahassee these days: Trying to figure out who Gov. Rick Scott will pick as his lieutenant governor and campaign running mate in 2014. A little video on The Buzz blog does the trick quite nicely.

The latest name to gain circulation is George LeMieux, the former Charlie Crist appointee to the U.S. Senate who faded from sight after dropping out of the Republican primary against former U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV last year and who earlier served as former Gov. Charlie Crist's first chief of staff.

LeMieux was one of the 80 or so guests with Scott on a week-long job promotion trip at the Paris Air Show. In a brief and over-the-top speech, he spoke glowingly about Scott working "from morning till late into the night" to turn around Florida's economy. "The state is doing great, and he has done an incredible job at it," LeMieux says in the video, released by Scott's office, that got people talking.

A persuasive case can be made for and against LeMieux. If Crist is the most likely Democrat to give Scott a run for his money, LeMieux makes sense politically: Few know Crist better than LeMieux, he knows where a body or two is buried, and he can play rough if Scott wants a partner in the hatchet man role. LeMieux has high-level state government experience, too.

On the negative side, he'll have to answer for all of his votes in the U.S. Senate, and his close association with Crist as the "the maestro" of Crist's 2006 victory no doubt left scar tissue with the GOP base. Then there's LeMieux's very unsuccessful campaign to hold the Senate seat Crist handed him, and the fact that he's a button-down, white male lawyer from Broward County who will add no sizzle to the Scott ticket.

But before you dismiss LeMieux out of hand as an impossible choice, ask yourself: Did you think Crist would put him in the United States Senate?


[Last modified: Thursday, June 20, 2013 6:42pm]


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