Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sen. George LeMieux watches out for Gov. Charlie Crist in Senate race

In his first South Florida visit since joining the Senate three months ago, Republican Sen. George LeMieux said he has made good on his promise to look out for the state's interests.

But he's also watching out for the man who put him in office: Gov. Charlie Crist, a candidate for the seat in 2010.

As Crist rival Marco Rubio has gained ground, LeMieux has quietly stepped up on behalf of his former boss. He co-headlined a Washington fundraiser for the governor last week and set up a political action committee, Protect America's Future, to funnel money to Crist and other political allies.

After Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe bucked the Republican establishment last month and endorsed Rubio, LeMieux sought to root out other potential defectors.

At a private Capitol Hill luncheon with other Republican senators, LeMieux urged them to talk to him before taking sides in the race.

"What I have told my colleagues was that if they're interested in getting involved in the Florida race, I hope that they will come to me," LeMieux said Tuesday after visiting the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

"I will give them the benefit of my opinion, and, obviously, they have the right and choice to do what they like. But I'd like to tell my side of the story."

The Senate primary had not yet heated up when Crist turned to his former chief of staff and campaign manager to finish the Senate term jettisoned by Mel Martinez, who resigned in September to spend more time with his family.

LeMieux was immediately derided as a political lackey who would merely keep the seat warm until the 2010 election.

LeMieux's decision to open a political action committee has heightened expectations that he will challenge Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012.

While presenting himself as his own man, LeMieux has stayed close to Crist. They talk two or three times a week, LeMieux said Wednesday in an interview at a Coral Springs coffee shop.

He and the governor dined Monday night at an Italian restaurant in Fort Lauderdale after Crist addressed the Broward Republican Party, and they had lunch together Tuesday at a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Florida.

Sen. George LeMieux watches out for Gov. Charlie Crist in Senate race 11/27/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 27, 2009 10:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Motorcycle driver killed after hitting turning car on Keene Road in Largo


    A motorcycle driver was killed Friday evening when he struck a turning car, Largo police said.

  2. Drive-by shooting near Robles Park injures four people standing outside in crowd


    TAMPA — Four people standing in a crowd were hit by bullets during a drive-by shooting near Robles Park in Tampa late Friday, Tampa police said.

  3. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series


    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  4. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena


    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.