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George LeMieux: I'd step aside but Marco wouldn't get seniority and Crist would get to make a second Senate appointment

Tea Party activists have suggested that George LeMieux step down early to give incoming Sen.-elect Marco Rubio a greater chance at the perks of Senate seniority -- choicer committee assignments, etc.

But LeMieux said Tuesday he looked at the idea -- "I would've stepped down if it had given him seniority" -- and is convinced it wouldn't give Marco a leg up -- and would give Gov. Charlie Crist the opportunity to appoint his second interim senator to the seat. (LeMieux was Crist's first interim -- to fill retired Mel Martinez's seat)

"The rules of our conference (are) that it doesn't give him seniority," LeMieux said. "And under Florida law, if I were to step down, he would not have become the senator, the governor would have had the opportunity to appoint an interim."

"I looked into and checked cause if I could've, I would've," LeMieux said. The Senate Republican Conference stopped giving seniority to members who arrive early, LeMieux said, to avoid an "arms race" of senators resigning early to give others a leg up.

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