Yes, George LeMieux is the devil and Rasputin but…

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As a proud member of the Society of the Tarpon Belt — the unofficial booster organization of Charlie Crist — I’ll never forgive George LeMieux for how he manipulated Crist.

George LeMieux is no Maestro to me.  He is the devil.  He is Rasputin.


Why is LeMieux being criticized for playing hardball to win Crist’s appointment to the US Senate seat vacated by Mel Martinez? Isn’t that what politics is all about.

“I’ve got to salute him. He was playing politics, and the rest of us weren’t,” John Delaney said of LeMieux. “We were playing by Marquess of Queensbury rules. He got what he wanted.” Delaney was reportedly the front-runner for the appointment until an anonymous website was created noting that the former Jacksonville mayor in 2008 had publicly opposed a property-tax initiative promoted by Crist.

Sure, maybe an anonymous website was not the most noble vehicle for such an attack, but politics ain’t bean-bag.

Former Secretary of State Jim Smith understand this as well as anyone, yet he sounds surprised that LeMieux outmaneuvered him or that Crist didn’t fully share with him his intentions for filling the vacancy.

“If that rumor comes true about Crist running for governor as a Democrat,” Smith said, “a real good ad might be to have six or seven of us each say to the camera, ’Charlie told me he was going to appoint me to the U.S. Senate.’ Then it would end with, ’Can you believe anything Charlie Crist says?’ “

Those are big words from someone who himself switched political parties to run for statewide office.

If anything, LeMieux deserves grudging respect for winning Crist’s appointment over Delaney, Jeff Kottkamp, Smith or Bill Young.  Yet, he’s being portrayed as the Richard Hatch of Florida politics for besting the rest of the competition.

What LeMieux does not deserve is Connie Mack’s ridiculous attacks that he may have employed “extortion or bribery.”

Again, I’ll never forgive LeMieux for whispering his poisons into Charlie Crist’s ears, but successfully playing political hardball is one of the requisites of a long career in US Senate.

By that measure, George LeMieux appears more than qualified.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.