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The Buzz: Senate hopeful Hasner says he's no moderate Republican

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Adam Hasner is working hard to cast his Republican rivals, George LeMieux and Mike Haridopolos, as too moderate or liberal for Republican primary voters. His campaign cites Florida Senate President Haridopolos' inability to get tougher anti-immigration laws passed this year, and LeMieux's record of standing behind Charlie Crist when the former governor embraced cap-and-trade policies.

So it's interesting to read some of the press clips about Hasner earlier in his career. Back when Hasner was touting his hybrid vehicle, pushing electric car tax incentives and legislation to address climate change, and before he started venting about Sharia law:

"Hasner described himself as a moderate Republican who opposed expanding the state's private-school voucher program until greater accountability measures are added," the South Florida Sun-Sentinel wrote in November 2004.

"Hasner cited votes in support of stem cell research and judicial bypass language in a parental notification bill and votes against a bill to expand the voucher program to families of active and retired military officers as proof he is a moderate Republican," the Sun-Sentinel reported in October 2004.

Hasner "has become a moderate voice in the Florida House and fit in well with his more conservative Republican colleagues," that paper's editorial board said the next day in endorsing Hasner.

Rick Wilson, a senior Hasner adviser, scoffed that anyone might try to libel Hasner with the dreaded "moderate" label.

"This has never been a guy who ran as a moderate and certainly not a guy who governed as a moderate. His voting record is that of a limited-government conservative," said Wilson, accusing the LeMieux campaign of trying tarnish Hasner with the moderate label with Republicans in Washington. "This stuff is coming from George LeMieux, who waged a 10-year war against conservatives."

Scott finally will talk to journalists

Gov. Rick Scott, who boasts that he reads no Florida newspapers and never speaks to newspaper editorial boards, is scheduled to address a statewide group of journalists next month.

On July 1, Scott is scheduled to address the annual convention for the Florida Press Association/Florida Society of News Editors at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club in St. Petersburg.

LeMieux finds support from Washington

LeMieux's D.C. connections are paying off. Twelve Republican senators will hold a fundraiser for the former interim senator on June 23 in Washington, according to an invite sent to the Buzz.

The senators are Roy Blunt, Richard Burr, Saxby Chambliss, Susan Collins, Mike Crapo, Chuck Grassley, Johnny Isakson, Mike Johanns, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Jim Risch and Pat Roberts.

It's a big sign that at least some in the D.C. establishment prefer LeMieux, and an indication he's looking for a big quarter. Some of the senators backing LeMieux also helped raise money for Crist.

Shake things up? No, Tallahassee is perfect

State Rep. Jeff "take them to the woodshed" Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, on the campaign trail sounded like he wanted to shake things up in Tallahassee. In a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9, though, he sounds like the last thing he wants to do is make waves. The Legislature is doing a good job, he said, as is Gov. Scott. The $4 billion budget deficit proved to be "an opportunity" to improve the state, and Tallahassee doesn't need lawmakers disagreeing with the legislative leadership.

"It gets to be very challenging, when you're in leadership, to have members of your caucus that are working against you," Brandes said in the interview that airs at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Alex Leary and Michael C. Bender contributed to this week's Buzz. Adam Smith can be reached at asmith@sptimes.com.

Winner of the week

George LeMieux. A lot of Republican activists and analysts predicted his U.S. Senate campaign would go nowhere because of his long ties to Charlie Crist. But LeMieux has put together a top-tier fundraising team, including Rick Michaels of Tampa, and has a dozen sitting senators helping raise money. Way too early to write him off.

Loser of the week

Debbie Wasserman

Schultz. Among recent observations of the South Florida representative and new Democratic chairwoman: The GOP's Medicare plan "would literally be a death trap for some seniors" and would throw younger Americans "to the wolves." Republicans "want to literally drag us back to Jim Crow laws" and are waging "war on women." Time to dial it back a notch or three.

The Buzz: Senate hopeful Hasner says he's no moderate Republican 06/13/11 [Last modified: Monday, June 13, 2011 11:52am]

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