What key Florida pols are saying about our new Senator...
Mel Martinez: “I congratulate George LeMieux for being appointed by the governor to fill the remainder of my term. George is bright, capable, and an accomplished administrator. My staff and I stand ready to ensure a smooth transition.”
Marco Rubio: “This is a disappointing pick for Florida. George LeMieux is a talented political operative and the governor’s best friend, but that doesn’t make him the right choice to represent Florida in the Senate. Governor Crist had a wealth of consistent and principled conservative candidates to choose from, all of whom would have been a reliable check and balance on the excesses of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda.”
Kendrick Meek: “Governor Crist was afforded a high responsibility with this appointment. Instead, he treated this process like a mockery, politicizing his selection by flying around the state at taxpayers’ expense, touring major media markets and drawing this selection out. Well respected Floridians with a wealth of elected service experience from Congressman Clay Shaw to Mayor John Delaney to various Hispanic leaders were in a position to hit the ground running if appointed, but that possibility is now nonexistent.”
Jim Greer: “Once again, Charlie Crist has demonstrated his commitment to serving Floridians, by appointing George LeMieux who is well qualified, a dedicated public servant, conservative Republican and an excellent choice!”
Progress Florida executive director Mark Ferrulo: “It’s shocking. We wonder why Gov. Crist didn’t just appoint himself if he was going to pick his former chief of staff and campaign ‘maestro’. “The so-called ‘People’s Governor’ has made clear through this appointment that he places personal loyalty and his own political benefit above the interests of Floridians.”
Bill McCollum: “I congratulate George LeMieux on his appointment as Florida’s U.S. Senator. I have known George for a long time, both as a friend and as a former Deputy Attorney General, a capacity in which he served this office well. I wish him the best in serving the people of Florida in the U.S. Senate.”
Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Hari Sevugan: “With Florida’s economy in shambles, Charlie Crist could have selected a Senator who would be able to hit the ground running in Washington to tackle the problems that face Floridians. In appointing a political crony as a placeholder until he can run for Senate himself, Charlie Crist is using the Governorship to advance his own political ambitions rather than advancing the lives of the Floridians he was elected to serve.”
Robert Wexler: “In short, George LeMieux will make an excellent Senator. I wish him great success and look forward to working with him in any way I can.”
Republican operative Mac Stipanovich: “He was not the obvious choice.”
Marion Hammer: “The NRA and Unified Sportsmen of Florida are very pleased with Governor Crist’s appointment of George LeMieux as Florida’s new junior U.S. Senator. George is rated ‘A’ by the NRA and will be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment in the U.S. Senate. Gun owners can count on George LeMieux to fight to protect freedom and the Second Amendment.”
Eric Jotkoff: “This is just one more example of the Republican leadership in Tallahassee putting cronyism and corruption above the people of our state. From Ray Sansom, to former lobbyist Bill McCollum, to George LeMieux, it is clear that we must stand together and pledge to end the Republican culture of cronyism and corruption in Tallahassee.”
Clay Shaw: “George is a very, very capable guy and I’m sure he’ll do a good job. He’s a quick study, he’s articulate, he’s very close to the governor. I think it’s a good choice.”
Ellyn Bogdanoff: “He’s a smart guy, politically savvy, a hard worker. There’s nothing negative to say about George….He’s certainly smart enough to wade through the issues.”
Kirk Fordham, head of the Everglades Foundation: “George LeMieux is the right pick for Florida. He has a deep understanding of a wide range of regional issues that are unique to Florida. When it comes to protecting the people’s water supply and restoring the Everglades, we couldn’t ask for a better ally than we’ll have in Senator George LeMieux.”
St. Pete Times: "Gov. Charlie Crist could have appointed a former congressman, a former legislator, a former Jacksonville mayor, a former state attorney general, or even a former U.S. attorney to the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez. Instead, the governor chose his alter ego to keep the seat warm for 16 months as he campaigns for it. He might as well have appointed himself."
Cliff Stearns: “I am concerned by Governor Crist’s selection for the U.S. Senate seat today, which appears to serve as a placeholder for the Governor, rather than serving the people of Florida as their U.S. Senator."
The DSCC: "Charlie Crist came as close as he could to appointing himself to this position. At a time when so many Floridians are unemployed, and many others facing foreclosures, we have learned nothing is beyond the pale for Charlie Crist. Today marked another Charlie Crist choice that significantly impacts the state of Florida but is ultimately about promoting himself."
Karen Thurman: "Today, Charlie Crist decided to play political games with the public's trust by appointing George LeMieux to the U.S. Senate. This glaring example of political cronyism is the last thing Florida needed while we face these tough economic times and the Congress is tackling critical issues such as health insurance reform and global warming. In appointing LeMieux, someone who has made millions over the past several years selling access to Crist to the highest bidders among Tallahassee's special interests, Charlie Crist once again put his own political ambition above doing what is right for Florida."
Senate Guru: "To fill the U.S. Senate vacancy caused by the resignation of unpopular Republican Mel Martinez, Gov. Charlie Crist has selected his former Chief of Staff Georgie Lemieux. Politically speaking, this is the worst possible selection Crist could have made."