Ex-Senator George LeMieux Sounds Off On His Former Boss Charlie Crist

Dec 19, 2012

Former Sen. George LeMieux says he did not see Charlie Crist's transformation to Democrat coming and doubts he can make the switch successfully.
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Former U. S. Sen. George LeMieux was once Charlie Crist's closest confidant as his chief of staff, so valued by the ex-governor that it was Crist who appointed him to fill out the term of the retiring Mel Martinez in the Senate in 2009. 

But things have changed drastically in three years.

After an unsuccessful attempt at being elected to a Senate seat last year in the Republican primary, the Broward native is now chairman of the Gunster Law Firm in Fort Lauderdale.

Crist, meanwhile, is now a Democrat, likely to seek his old job back in 2014, running against the man who succeeded him, Gov. Rick Scott.

LeMieux says he didn't see it coming.

"I didn't. He ran for governor as a conservative, talked about Ronald Reagan as being his hero, and was running on a platform of less government and less spending. During those days, he was a tried and true Republican. 

He no longer speaks to his old friend and would not be in a position to offer advice, but LeMieux says it will be hard for Crist to convince Democrats that's he had an honest conversion of beliefs in less than three years.

"As opposed to being pro-life, anti-gay marriage, anti-gay marriage, now he's going to join the Democratic party and be pro-choice, pro-gay marriage. That will be his first challenge, proving to Democrats that he really holds those beliefs."

LeMieux also offers up advice for unpopular current Gov.  Rick Scott, suggesting the people of Florida simply haven't gotten a chance to know him. 

"He's not as unpopular as he his unknown. This is a governor that really came out of nowhere. Usually the person that gets elected governor has a long relationship with the people of Florida"