Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

In Senate race, Republican Bob Smith is running to right of Rubio

Only one candidate running for the U.S. Senate truly has the experience to hit the ground running in Washington, but few people are paying any attention to him.

Meet Sarasota Republican Bob Smith, a former U.S. senator from New Hampshire and true-blue conservative, who is finding it mighty hard to get any traction amid all the attention on front-runner Charlie Crist and challenger Marco Rubio. He appears today on Political Connections on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

"When this campaign's over (Floridians) are going to know who the conservative is, and it's going to be Bob Smith, not Marco Rubio," said Smith, suggesting that House Speaker Rubio did not practice what he preaches when it comes to spending and illegal immigration.

Smith, who moved to Sarasota after losing a 2002 GOP primary to John Sununu after two terms, might be taken more seriously if he had raised more than $20,000 to date. And his two terms in the Senate might be more impressive if one didn't realize that winning a statewide race in New Hampshire is akin to winning a countywide race in Pinellas or Hillsborough.

Rush likes Rubio

Palm Beach resident Rush Limbaugh, who has been saying positive things about Rubio lately, took notice of Crist's comments to the St. Petersburg Times editorial board last week.

"I noticed that Crist is out there now, 'Hey, what do you mean? Who says I'm not conservative? I'm pro-life. I'm pro-gun. I don't know what more I have to be except angry.' That's not going to sit well," Limbaugh said. "Republicans, the only chance they ever have of winning national elections is to go conservative. And I think that's what's brewing out there, and the Republican Party is going to be looking at this Crist-Rubio primary because it's going to be a pretty stark contrast."

Graham's advice

Gov. Crist acknowledged last week that it may not look like he's 100 percent focused on Florida when he's spending so much time raising money out of state for his Senate race. "One of the things I like the least about what I do is having to raise money. … I also realize that I have to have resources in order to communicate and in order to educate. I don't enjoy going to receptions a lot, but I know I have to do it," Crist said. "Does it look bad? Perhaps. But I know if I don't do it, I'm not going to be able to communicate when it really matters."

Crist said he consulted former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, who also raised money for a Senate race while serving as governor, about fundraising.

"(Graham) said, 'It's very difficult, and you have to try to be very sensitive to the out-of-state fundraising vs. in-state. Your first job is your job.' I realize that. He said, 'My advice would be if you do out-of-state fundraising, do it before the election year. If there are people around the country who want to help you' — and thank God there are a few — 'I would try to schedule those before the calendar year ends in 2009.' So I'm trying to do that. I think it was good advice."

LeMieux's questions

Sen. George LeMieux said he long wondered how disgraced lawyer Scott Rothstein was so successful but never acted on it because he's not "the kind of person to try to pull down others."

"I've talked to him and know him," said LeMieux, who ran a competing law firm. The mega-fundraiser is accused of bilking investors out of millions of dollars. "I never understood how he was so successful, but I wasn't the kind of person to try to pull down others. I just hope for the best and was always optimistic about him as I am about everybody and thought there must be some other way he is making his money."

LeMieux, who provided Rothstein with two tickets to his September swearing-in ceremony, did not think the scandal would hurt Crist, a friend of Rothstein's and major beneficiary of his money-raising. "The people of Florida know their governor, and they like their governor, and they know he fights for them every day. I think ultimately that's going to shape their opinion."

Alex Leary contributed to this week's Buzz. Adam Smith gives political updates on Twitter at adamsmithtimes and can be reached at asmith@sptimes.com.

Winner
of the week

Charlie Crist. The governor showed up at a local Republican Party gathering, in Broward County, and received an enthusiastic welcome for a change. It's been a long time since Crist hasn't had a politically rocky week, so that qualifies as good news.

Loser
of the week

Maurice Ferre. Anybody out there see signs of life in the Democratic Senate campaign of the former Miami mayor? All we see are occasional news releases reacting to things that happened days earlier.

In Senate race, Republican Bob Smith is running to right of Rubio

11/28/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 3:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA

    Airlines

    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  2. St. Petersburg man shot in arm during home invasion robbery

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One man was arrested on charges he shot another man in the arm while attempting to rob a home in what St. Petersburg police are calling a drug-related incident.

    John Alam, 25, faces charges of home invasion robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon after deputies said he tried to rob a home Wednesday morning and ended up shooting someone. [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Bob Buckhorn, a mayor who knows what he wants, surveys constituents on what they want

    Local

    TAMPA — Focus has not been a problem — or really, even a question — during the six-plus years that Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been in office.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn keeps a digital countdown clock in his office showing the days, hours. minutes and seconds until he is term-limited out of office on April 1, 2019. As of Wednesday, he had 584 days to go. [City of Tampa]
  4. WATCH: Heroic Hooters manager helps two sheriff's deputies subdue unruly customer

    Crime

    BRANDON — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office praised a heroic Hooters Restaurant manager Wednesday for coming to the aid of two deputies struggling to subdue an unruly customer.

    It took two deputies and a Hooter's manager to get control of Ashton B. Toney after he threatened to kill an employee who refused to serve him alcohol at a Hooter's in Brandon, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office reported.
[Booking photo from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]