Adam Hasner is branding himself in Florida’s Republican U.S. Senate primary as the perfect trifecta: an anti-establishment, principled conservative who was among the first to confront Charlie Crist’s moderate ways.
Yet a review of Hasner’s record as a state legislator reveals a more nuanced record than the staunch conservative who now urges “no compromise” in Washington over the debt talks.
Hasner was the consummate Republican insider — down to his red white and blue boots made from elephant skin —who served eight years in the House, four as majority leader.
While he has criticized better-funded Senate rivals of raking in special interest money, Hasner raised $2.7 million himself for his House campaigns and three separate fundraising committees he controlled. About a fifth of the money came from Tallahassee, where lobbyists and consultants seek to influence state lawmakers.
Once called the “most partisan Republican in Tallahassee,” by Marco Rubio, Hasner waged battles against labor unions and led the charge in 2009 to reject $444 million in federal stimulus money for unemployment compensation, saying it hurt businesses and created new entitlements.
But Hasner also supported a watered-down climate-change law that the Legislature now wants to repeal. And he voted for a budget with $2.2 billion in tax and fee increases and billions more in federal stimulus money. He also favored high-speed rail and SunRail, which tea party activists came to abhor.