“Look for George LeMieux to remain a major player in national and Florida politics,” writes Nancy Smith of the Sunshine State News.
At first glance, LeMieux confronts major challenges to remaining politically viable. In 2009, he was appointed to the U.S. Senate by his old ally, then-Gov. Charlie Crist. While LeMieux was Crist’s chief of staff, he supported Marco Rubio in the contest for the Senate seat in 2010, when Crist jumped ship on the Republicans to run for the seat with no party affiliation.
LeMieux clearly enjoyed being in the Senate and hoped to win the Republican nomination in 2012 to challenge long-serving Democrat Bill Nelson and return to the upper chamber. But he gained little traction and, at the urging of state party leaders, pulled out of the race two months before the primary fight to offer an unenthusiastic endorsement of Connie Mack.
While he is still handicapped by his association with Crist, LeMieux is still hoping for a second political act despite his current position as chairman of the board of the Gunster Law Firm. He is only 43 years old, has plenty of time to regroup. Earlier this month, the former senator launched the LeMieux Center for Public Policy at Palm Beach Atlantic University. The university will also archive his papers.LeMieux is also looking to stay active in national politics. A darling of several prominent national conservative groups and assorted fiscal watchdogs during his brief stay in the Senate — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Taxpayers Union and the Concord Coalition, for example — he has penned editorials in recent weeks on various topics.
In other words, the former U.S. senator isn’t going anywhere.