Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Linking himself to Marco Rubio, Adam Hasner wins U.S. Senate straw poll

Candidate Adam Hasner speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He vowed to fight Washington, saying the nation “shouldn’t be afraid of a shutdown” in government.

CHRIS ZUPPA | Times

Candidate Adam Hasner speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He vowed to fight Washington, saying the nation “shouldn’t be afraid of a shutdown” in government.

ORLANDO — Though down in the polls, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Adam Hasner was Friday's straw poll winner — by just a few percentage points — at the Conservative Public Action Conference.

Hasner got 34 percent of the vote, with retired U.S. Army Reserve Col. Mike McCalister right behind him, pulling in 30 percent. Former Sen. George LeMieux also was in striking distance, with 24 percent of the 1,500 ballots cast. Craig Miller garnered about 12 percent.

Pollster Tony Fabrizio, a Gov. Rick Scott adviser, announced the results at the CPAC meeting, noting they were not scientific but a good benchmark of the sentiment of the tea party, which makes up the most influential bloc of the GOP.

"It is certainly indicative of where these grass roots conservatives are going in the Senate race," Fabrizio said. "The truth of the matter is it's a close race. It's not an overwhelming lead. It's four percentage points."

Public polls paint a different picture of the race. A Quinnipiac University survey and another poll from Gainesville-based War Room Logistics show that Hasner trails in the race, with LeMieux in the lead and McCalister running second.

Both surveys show that about 60 percent of Republican voters are undecided. It's a sign of how little-known these candidates are in an election season when the Republican presidential candidates command all the attention.

Regardless of who wins the Republican primary for Senate, incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson would win in a theoretical matchup right now, the polls show. Nelson is the only Democrat elected to statewide office in Florida — a result of having weak opponents and a credit to his ability to model himself as a centrist. The Republicans say he's a liberal clone of President Barack Obama.

Sounding anything but centrist, the Republican candidates addressed the CPAC conference and a nearby gathering of Republican Party of Florida voters on Friday.

Hasner noted that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a conservative darling, appointed him to be the state House Republican leader while Rubio was speaker in 2007 and 2008.

"He called me the most partisan Republican in Tallahassee. He meant it as a compliment. The mainstream media tried to make it an insult. I made it a badge of honor," Hasner said.

Hasner vowed to fight Washington and said the nation "shouldn't be afraid of a shutdown" in government.

The candidates refrained from attacking each other directly, though Hasner hurled veiled barbs at LeMieux by noting the legacy of former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-independent whom LeMieux advised for years.

"When our former governor, my friend, left the Republican Party, the very next day I endorsed Marco Rubio," LeMieux said. Before that time, though, LeMieux was actively involved in undermining Rubio's candidacy and leading the effort to dig up opposition-research on him.

McCalister won the most applause for warning of the dangers of communism, illegal immigration, "radical Islamic aggression," liberal judges and the United Nations' Agenda 21 initiative — a strategy he said was an effort to take away gun rights.

McCalister, who has been criticized by veterans and even a general for embellishing his military record, said he would combat the problems by cutting taxes and regulations and beefing up the military.

"My friends, Ronald Reagan had it right," he said. "You threaten us, we win. You lose."

Linking himself to Marco Rubio, Adam Hasner wins U.S. Senate straw poll 09/23/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 23, 2011 10:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. McConnell trying to revise the Senate health care bill by Friday

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is aiming to send a revised version of his health care bill to the Congressional Budget Office as soon as Friday as he continues to push for a vote before Congress' August recess.

    Protesters rally against the Senate Republican health care bill Wednesday on the east front of the Capitol building.
  2. Police raise likely death toll in London high-rise blaze

    World

    LONDON — The number of people killed or presumed dead in the London high-rise fire has inched up to 80, but the final death toll may not be known for months, British police said at a grim briefing Wednesday.

  3. Rick Baker gives himself a "B" in 1st debate against Rick Kriseman

    Blogs

    Rick Baker gave himself a “B” in his first debate against Mayor Rick Kriseman.

    Rick Baker chats with supporters at a fundraiser at St. Petersburg Yacht Club Wednesday evening
  4. Companies, governments assess damage from latest malware attack

    World

    PARIS — Companies and governments around the world on Wednesday counted the cost of a software epidemic that has disrupted ports, hospitals and banks. Ukraine, which was hardest hit and where the attack likely originated, said it had secured critical state assets — though everyday life remained affected, …

  5. Details of Trump's travel ban still being finalized

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — Senior officials from the departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security labored Wednesday to finalize rules for visitors from six mostly Muslim nations who hope to avoid the Trump administration's revived travel ban and come to the United States.