Fresh off his visit to Miami, Republican presidential frontrunner John McCain announced today that Hayden Dempsey will serve as Florida co-chairman of Lawyers for McCain.
Dempsey was lead counsel for Gov. Charlie Crist's campaign and served as deputy general counsel for former Gov. Jeb Bush. Most recently, he represented newly elected U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, whose narrow margin of victory has been disputed by Democratic rival Christine Jennings. Dempsey also serves on the Federal Nominating Commission in Florida.
"High-level Republicans are being courted, and the ones who want experience and someone who commands respect are lining up with McCain," said Republican lobbyist Ana Navarro, a self-described "McCainiac."
Navarro attended the Arizona's senator's private meeting at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables on Saturday with a number of potential donors and supporters, including U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Mario Diaz-Balart.
Navarro, whose boyfriend is Biltmore owner Gene Prescott, noted that Democratic presidential contender John Edwards did his post-State of the Union interviews last night from the hotel and had breakfast there this morning.
"The only presidential candidate who has not come through the hotel is Tom Tancredo, and frankly I don't want him," said Navarro, who is Cuban-American, referring to the anti-immigration Colorado congressman. "The hotel has gone from being a Clinton hangout to bi-partisan and bi-cultural."