April 30th, 2010
03:50 PM ET
13 years ago

Crist Senate ally jumps ship

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/30/art.lemieux.gi.jpg caption="Sen. George LeMieux said Friday that he will not support Gov. Charlie Crist's Senate bid."]Washington (CNN) – The political fallout continued Friday for Florida Gov. Charlie Crist as his longtime friend and adviser Sen. George LeMieux announced that he will not support Crist's independent bid for Senate.

"I am saddened that my friend, Governor Crist, has decided to leave the Republican Party. Our friendship runs deep, but my commitment to the principles of the Republican Party runs deeper. I cannot walk down the path he has chosen," LeMieux said in a statement released by the Republican Party of Florida.

On Thursday, Crist announced that he will run as an independent in the Florida Senate race, sidestepping a showdown with Republican Marco Rubio.

For LeMieux, Crist's former chief of staff, the move means turning his back on the man who appointed him to the Senate following the retirement of Sen. Mel Martinez.

LeMieux indicated that he will support the Republican nominee, despite his long history with Crist.

"I will support our Republican nominee and will continue to do everything I can both in Florida and across the country to increase the number of Republicans in the United States Senate." LeMieux said.

LeMieux's withdrawal of support comes on the heels of similar statements from national GOP power players, including the chairmans of the Republican National Committee and Republican National Senatorial Committee.

At least three members of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's campaign staff resigned on Thursday shortly after Crist's Thursday announcement, including campaign attorney Benjamin Ginsberg, Communications Director Andrea Saul and Press Secretary Amanda Hennenberg.

- CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report

Filed under: 2010 • Charlie Crist • Florida • George LeMieux
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. John

    Hey CNN, way to fact check. Your photo of Senator George LeMieux, is actually Senator Richard Burr!!!

    April 30, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. Sgt. USMC

    Breaking up is hard to do.

    April 30, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  3. as an american

    In short "I don't have the balls to do what he did and i cannot leave the GOP cause i need them to help me with my future political career cause i could never do it on my own...plus i don't have that much money so i need to count on the GOP handouts and big corporations"

    April 30, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. Luke Brown

    This guy owes his entire career to Crist. What a backstabber! He at least could have remained neutral.

    BTW ... the Republican Party today is NOTHING like what it has been in the past. The party of Limbaugh and Glenn Beck is not the party of Reagan.

    PS ... I don't think that guy in the photo is LeMieux.

    April 30, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. Dylan from Minneapolis

    So, an entity that has no real existence has more value than a genuine relationship with a human being? That's garbage.

    April 30, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. JL

    Wow. It's a sad, sad, state of affairs when we start prioritizing our political views over a long-time friendship. It says a lot about Sen. LeMieux's charachter, or lack there of. The sad part is that the republican party probably thinks this is a win.

    Giving up our collective compassion, sense of decency, and integrity is never a win. Too bad a good majority our county is too busy falling in line behind their respective political cult to see how damaging it is to our future.

    April 30, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  7. Tired

    Why are the majority of today's Republicans so afraid of the far-right wing of the party? What is wrong with being a moderate Republican? There is evidently no loyalty to fellow Republicans as well as no loyalty to the old-time Republican values. Why is it "agree with us 100% or get out"? Ronald Reagan must be turning in his grave.

    April 30, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  8. Just say NO

    "but my commitment to the principles of the Republican Party runs deeper"

    Yea... deeper than a stinking pile of NO!
    What principals??

    April 30, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. Dan J

    Ouch. Just, ouch.

    April 30, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. T Walker

    I'm with John. That looks like Burr.

    April 30, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. Dan J

    If my friend was a flip flopper with no ideals besides self gain, I wouldn't support him either.

    April 30, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. Djinn

    Ya gotta like Crist better every day!!

    April 30, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. Odalice feliz

    Cutting ties with someone or something for any reason is difficult. Leaving a relationship or a position is hard on all parties.

    April 30, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. Chut Pata

    @Luke Brown. Sad isn't it. I was all set to vote McCain against Hillary. Then it was Obama vs Palin, and I had to vote Obama. I hope someday Republican Party would become Reagan's party again, and free from the hands of Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly etc.

    April 30, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. mike

    Oh how the repubs have a hold on these guys who are more
    concern about there future then about the voters who they
    represent you see its not about big government but about
    american greed that comes from these so called scum bag
    americans who for some reason they think they are better
    then you are

    April 30, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. joe dokes

    Apparently being a moderate Republican is no longer allowed. Sorry Governor, your old party has taken the train to Crazytown.

    April 30, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. Dick Cheney For President In 2012

    I live in Florida.

    Everyone has figured out that Charlie Crist's only purpose in life is to do whatever it takes to get himself elected to the next higher political office. I have no idea what he stands for today and I have no idea what he will stand for tomorrow. We were hoping to be rid of him by August 24, now it will take until November 2 to remove him from the political stage.

    April 30, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. NC

    Yep, it's senator Burr, Senator No.

    April 30, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. jbakaregit

    Chut Pata Reagan invited the crazies in (i.e. religious right) but kept them at 10-foot arms length, continuing with Richard Nixons appeal to the dixicrats who fled the Democratic Party after LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Remember, he started his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi (the sight of the 1964 civil rights murders), appealing to the sympathies of the people longing for the bygone era. That was the beginning of the end. Gingrich's ascent in 1994 accelerated this process.

    What we see today has been a long time coming for the GOP. Conservatives like David Frum aren't even conservative enough for these folk.

    April 30, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. NC

    Friends and family are more important to me than a political party. Looks like Republicans are throwing Governor Crist under the bus, or worse under the subway.

    April 30, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. JFS

    Sounds as if you really do not Republican "friends".

    April 30, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. Jesus the Zombie version

    Scenario: You hire your friend to work at your company, but decide a few years later to leave because you do not like where the company is headed.

    On top of that a good chunk of your "clients" will support you even if you leave the company name behind, because REALLY IT'S NOT ABOUT THE COMPANY NAME BUT ABOUT THE WORK PERFORMED BY THE EMPLOYEE.

    And when you leave said company your friend looks at you and says "thanks for the job but THESE are my new friends now, they pay me so I have to support them regardless that I don't like where the company is headed either."

    Now I ask you, does that sound like a normal friendship to you?

    Who's wrong here, Crist for leaving a party that he feels is headed in the wrong direction or his friend for holding the almighty buck over the friendship of a man who put HIS career on the line hiring you?

    April 30, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  23. Marge

    See how the media has built up 70 thousand people to be the MAIN BODY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. Sure is a shame CNN and FOX hang on the the filthy tea bags every word and then tell lies about how many showed up for a rally and all that jazz.

    While all the time ignoring the other 95% of Americans that don't support the used up tea bags who don't know anything about the Constitution. Pretend to be Christians and are promoting hate and violence. I guess we know what kind of press we have in this country, spawns of the devil.

    April 30, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    What Sen. George LeMieux has said here is VERY important and every American voter needs to learn this lesson before the fall elections.
    He is saying that he represents the Republican Party first and the people second.
    The only two things holding the Amercan people from having their government back are the Democrats and the Republicans. It is time to change that.
    Vote Congress out, “you are fired” if they are in. Vote them out this fall no matter what party they belong to, and in the next election and every election going forward until they become the servants of the people once more.
    This November tell Congress "You Are Fired!"

    April 30, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. Voice of Reason

    Couldnt have said it better myself Sen. LeMieux! Nowadays you gotta put Party before Principle! Who cares what those whiney votors want, and it doesnt matter what whisperings of conscience may interrupt your roll toward election day – Brush all that aside, and put the good of the party first! Use Mark Rubio as an example – Now THERE's a guy who knows how to drown out principle, and just grub for votes!

    I too, used to have a spine, but found that life was much easier without it.

    (hope you all caught the sarcasm here... Go Charlie, Go! )

    April 30, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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