Former Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) didn't coast to his seat in the Senate. He was appointed by former Gov. Charlie Crist (R) -- an appointment for which he campaigned ferociously. That same intensity and political savvy is on display now as he seeks to unseat incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), The Miami Herald reports.
"He really wanted to do it. So he was going to do everything he could," former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp (R) told the Herald's Adam C. Smith and Marc Caputo. "He really, really wanted to do it."
The story alleges that Crist told both Kottkamp and University of North Florida President John Delaney that they would be picked for the spot. But after LeMieux launched an aggressive campaign that included an anonymous website attacking Delaney, Crist reportedly turned his attentions to LeMieux.
It wasn't just Delaney and Kottkamp who LeMieux managed to outmaneuver. According to the Herald report, "Every time speculation would center on a perceived frontrunner, negative information or criticism of that candidate would surface, invariably fueled by allies of LeMieux."
If LeMieux was the sole brass-knuckled politician in 2009, that certainly isn't the case now. His Senate primary opponent, Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), has taken the aggression charges several steps further, accusing LeMieux of pressuring Crist for the job improperly and even resorting to "bribery," claims for which there has been no evidence.
Mack's attacks are part of a larger campaign strategy to paint LeMieux as overly liberal by highlighting his ties to Crist, who became a Republican pariah after he left the party in 2010 to run as an independent against Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
“The day after he [Crist] left the party, I endorsed Marco Rubio,” LeMieux said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
10 more election stories from beyond the presidential field:
Tea Party-Backed Thomas Massie Wins House Primary In Kentucky [The Courier-Journal]
Centrist Republicans Could Help End Partisan Gridlock In California [The Los Angeles Times]
House Race In California Attracts Unprecedented Outside Spending [The Press-Enterprise]
Julius Melendez Wins Republican Straw Poll In Florida [Orlando Sentinel]
Jamie Radtke: George Allen A 'Risky Choice' For Virginia [Richmond Republican Examiner]
Maine Republican Senate Candidate: 'I'm Not All That Easy To Push Around' [The Morning Sentinel]
Club For Growth Says Hatch Likely To Win In Utah [Utah Policy]
Candidates For Giffords' Seat Face Off In Debate [Green Valley News And Sun]
Victor In House Republican Primary In Arkansas Wanted Journos Jailed [MoJo]
John Mellencamp's 'R.O.C.K. In The USA' Adopted By Tammy Duckworth In Illinois House Race [NBC Chicago]