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Evidence builds of coordinated effort against former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner

If you like politics and you like conspiracy theories, you'll enjoy this: speculation that the George LeMieux and Mike McCalister campaigns are working hand in hand to take down former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner.

Crazy? Or just crazy enough to work!?

Here are the facts:

1. Both the LeMieux campaign and Hasner campaigns see McCalister, a little-known former Army Reserve colonel from Plant City, as bad news for Hasner, as both Hasner and McCalister are focused on tea party conservatives.

2. McCalister often criticizes Hasner, but rarely LeMieux.

3. When a veterans group last week raised questions about McCalister's military record, LeMieux leaped to his defense: "The colonel served our nation honorably in the United States military, and he as well as all of our men and women in uniform deserve our gratitude and respect. Any campaign engaging in such baseless attacks should immediately apologize to Col. McCalister and denounce these tactics," LeMieux said.

4. The LeMieux campaign and McCalister campaign often sound like they're reading from the same script when questioning Hasner's conservative credentials.

5. LeMieux's chief consultant, Jon Lerner, worked on a congressional campaign for Sharron Angle in Nevada and last year did Club for Growth ads helping her U.S. Senate campaign. McCalister adviser John Yob worked on Angle's campaign. (Yob said he's never met Lerner.)

No, it doesn't add up to anything solid, but it's enough to make people suspicious.

"The voters of Florida can draw their own conclusions when campaigns begin to sing off the same hymnal," said Hasner senior adviser Rick Wilson. "It's no surprise that Charlie Crist called George LeMieux 'the maestro.' As a political operative, he was famous for orchestrating smear campaigns against people like Marco Rubio and setting up shady third-party groups. It's no surprise that George LeMieux would attempt to manipulate another campaign to do his dirty work."

The McCalister and LeMieux campaigns scoffed at — in very similar ways — the suggestion that they're coordinating.

McCalister adviser Buzz Jacobs: "Adam Hasner is pretending to be a conservative, when in reality he is a self-proclaimed moderate. The only connection between the campaigns is disdain for chameleons."

LeMieux adviser Brian Seitchik: "It seems like the McCalister campaign has sniffed out that Hasner's a phony conservative just like we have. We're running our own campaign, they're running their campaign."

What's in a name?

Harris Media, the Texas-based media company that coordinated Rick Scott's online communications in his campaign for governor, announced in January that it had opened a Tallahassee office and hired the governor's daughter, Allison Guimard, as vice president of business development and marketing.

Guimard is trying to drum up clients, and she's using her maiden name. In a voice mail message obtained by the Buzz, Guimard twice identifies herself as "Allison Scott" and mentions that "we just did Gov. Scott's campaign." She does not identify herself as the governor's oldest daughter.

Guimard lists her married name on her voter registration card, the company's press release and the voice mail message on her own mobile phone. She also used her married name throughout the campaign, when she was constantly at her father's side, often with her husband, Pierre.

Guimard did not return a phone call seeking comment about why she was using her maiden name. Instead, our call was returned by the Governor's Office. Chief of staff Steve MacNamara offered this statement: "The governor considers his daughter's profession a personal and private matter, because she does not solicit or take business from any state government clients."

A new Bush

Welcome to the world, Georgia Helena Walker Bush, born last weekend to Sandra and Jeb Bush Jr. She's the first grandchild of Jeb and Columba Bush and first great-grandchild of George H.W. and Barbara Bush.

Michael C. Bender and Steve Bousquet contributed to this week's Buzz.

Winner of the week

Rick Perry. Not clear how well the Texas swagger plays over the long haul, but the Republican presidential candidate appears poised for a very serious Florida campaign. He's talking to top political operatives, landed uber-fundraiser A.K. Desai, and prominent endorsements (including House Speaker Dean Cannon) are expected soon.

Loser of the week

Rick Scott's tie collection. Crafting a softer, kinder image (not helped by revelations of deleted transition
e-mails), the governor has become an open-collar guy. Looks like his ties will rarely see the light of day again. The same may hold for some of the transition's electronic records.

Evidence builds of coordinated effort against former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner 08/20/11 [Last modified: Sunday, August 21, 2011 12:38pm]
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