With Obamacare, Will Kind Early Words Be Regretted?
It’s not quite a Charlie Crist–level symbolic embrace of Obama, or on par with the thorny individual mandate of Romneycare, but once and perhaps future senator George LeMieux of Florida — increasingly seen as a likely candidate for the seat currently held by Bill Nelson in 2012 — can probably expect some grief over comments early in his term that suggested an openness to the exchanges created under Obamacare:
Florida Senator George LeMieux said today he likes the sound of President Obama’s proposal for creating health-care “exchanges” to help small businesses and individuals form groups to get better insurance rates.
LeMieux, just minutes after taking the oath of office, had a brief press conference in the Capitol in which he praised some aspects of Obama’s speech on Wednesday and expressed skepticism about an offshore drilling plan in the Senate.
“Some of the things he (Obama) talked about I thought were positive,” LeMieux, a Republican, said of Obama’s speech on Wednesday. LeMieux watched from the House gallery since he was not yet a senator.
He compared the exchange idea to insurance plans promoted by Governor Charlie Crist, who appointed LeMiuex to the Senate seat.
Of course, LeMieux will be able to point out that unless one of Florida’s House Republicans runs for the nomination, he alone among the GOP contenders has already voted against Obamacare; today Lemieux reiterated it must be repealed.
Hasner Forms Senate Exploratory Committee in Florida
Bit by bit, the field in the GOP Senate primary in Florida is taking shape:
Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner has formed an exploratory committee for an expected U.S. Senate run, the latest sign that Florida may have a sizable crowd of Republicans running to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos already announced his campaign and is raising hundreds of thousands of dollars. Soon after the first fundraising period ends March 31, Hasner and former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux are expected to make their candidacies official.
“The direness of the Florida economy and a federal debt that threatens our future as Americans form a compelling call to public service,” LeMieux said of a potential run.
Bring your A-game, gentlemen. The bar for Republican senators from Florida has been set quite high.
George LeMieux, the Once and Future Senator from Florida?
When Sen. Mel Martinez retired suddenly, Florida governor Charlie Crist appointed George LeMieux to fill the rest of Martinez’s term; key to LeMieux’s appointment was his disinterest in running for a full term for himself in 2010. Now LeMieux is thinking about running against Democrat Bill Nelson.
WEST PALM BEACH — Republican U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, whose 16-month appointment ends next month, told a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches lunch he’ll decide “pretty soon” whether or not he’s running in 2012, when Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is up for reelection.
He was asked afterward what some of the factors will be in his decision. He mentioned his family first, then said he’ll consider who else is running.
“If I feel that there’s somebody who would do as equal or better job than me for our country, then it would be smarter for me to step aside and allow me to spend more time with my four kids who are 7 and under,” LeMieux said.
“If I look out and don’t think that there’s someone like a Jeb Bush, for example who’s going to run and I don’t think there’s someone who’s going to be a problem-solver who’s going to go to Washington not to be a career politician, but go there to do the work that’s needed and come home, that’s going to be compelling for me.”
Would Jeb Bush be interested in being a senator in 2012 when he already turned down the opportunity to run in 2010?