George LeMieux dropping out of the U.S. Senate race is a blow for some GOP activists in his home county of Broward.
LeMieux was the Broward GOP’s hopes of a big name to hail from their county. Until recently, the most prominent local Republican to earn national fame from Broward was the brash-talking U.S. Rep. Allen West who won in his second attempt at Congress in 2010. But due to redistricting, the Broward GOP lost West to Palm Beach County where West recently moved to and is running for re-election.
Broward Republicans are likely to keep their claim on one countywide office holder: Sheriff Al Lamberti has a strong shot at re-election in November. Lamberti won his first race in 2008 despite the large Democratic turnout for President Barack Obama.
Assuming the frontrunner Connie Mack wins the Republican Senate primary, Broward GOP activists will clearly favor him against the incumbent, Democrat Bill Nelson. But the question is whether those activists who have been chummy with LeMieux for years will join forces to help Mack pick up more votes in Broward.
“One thing about the Broward Republicans -- we always unite behind the nominee,” said Broward GOP chairman Richard DeNapoli. “I think that’s what’s going to happen.”
DeNapoli added that Mack has a tie to Broward: he launched his political career in a state house district that included part of eastern Broward.
Broward is an overwhelmingly Democratic County but it has more than 250,000 registered Republicans who can make the difference in statewide races.