August 08, 2011

PolitiFact Florida: Did former Rep. Adam Hasner request 'over $92.2 million in earmarks'?

George LeMieux campaign e-mails and Web posts last week show a cartoon Adam Hasner wearing a joker hat and holding a mask at his own "masquerade ball" — one where he’s only pretending to be conservative. The release claims that Hasner's record includes "requesting over $92.2 million in earmarks."

The earmark claim caught our eye. Hasner, elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2002, served as majority leader from 2008-10 before term limits ended his run. That means plenty of time to rack up requests for pet projects. But did he request "over $92.2 million in earmarks"? And if he did, how did that compare with requests by other lawmakers?

PolitiFact Florida crunched the numbers.

August 05, 2011

Collins Center's Petrey agrees to step down from think tank

Collins Center President Rod Petrey signed a separation agreement with the organization this morning and will be immediately replaced by Merrett Stierheim, sources told the Herald/Times. The board will continue with its plans to meet next Thursday to ratify his resignation and formalize the appointment of Stierheim.

In a the letter sent to all Collins Center trustees and staff today, board chairman Parker Thomson said the article in the Herald/Times today was accurate, that Stierheim will serve as interim president and CEO for three to six months while they conduct a search for a replacement, and that the board has "asked a team of auditors to review the Center's finances." Download Collins Center letter

August 01, 2011

Hasner's team responds: 'Poor George LeMieux'

The battle of the press releases begun earlier this morning by this statement from former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux continued Monday afternoon with a response from GOP primary opponent Adam Hasner. Here's Hasner's release:

~Desperate LeMieux Launches Bizarre Attack Highlighting His Own Problems~
Boca Raton - Poor George LeMieux. Months of trying to reinvent himself as a conservative - and trying to run away from his record as the original Charlie Crist Republican - hasn't worked. So he's going on the attack.  LeMieux's attacks on Adam Hasner's proven conservative record shouldn't surprise anyone: they're similar to the attacks he used against another proven conservative, Marco Rubio. To wit:
  • Senator LeMieux Compared Marco Rubio To Barack Obama: "This is just like President Obama being able to be against the war in Iraq because he didn't have to vote on it. There's a lot of parallels to draw between Speaker Rubio and President Obama in the way they are running their race and in their ability to throw bombs without ever having to lead because they are out of office.'" (Alex Leary, "Rubio campaign like Obama campaign, LeMieux says", 11/17/2009)

"If you want to know why people are sick and tired of politics and politicians, look no further than Charlie Crist-Republican George LeMieux," said Hasner for Senate spokesman Douglass Mayer. "A year ago, he was part of a campaign to smear Marco Rubio. Then he stabbed his mentor and friend Charlie Crist in the back when the political winds shifted. Now he's trying to smear another proven conservative in Adam Hasner. Is there anything George LeMieux won't say or do to win an election?"

Continue reading "Hasner's team responds: 'Poor George LeMieux'" »

George LeMieux attacks Adam Hasner's record as 'Masquerade Ball'

U.S. Senate hopeful George LeMieux -- a former senator, temporarily appointed by former Gov. Charlie Crist -- is ripping Senate primary opponent Adam Hasner over fees and earmarks.

From LeMieux's press release:

Fort Lauderdale, FL -  Former Tallahassee career politician Adam Hasner has traversed Florida for several months this year as he campaigns for the next rung in his political career path.  During that time he has gone to great lengths to attempt to portray himself as a “true conservative,” a “consistent conservative,” or a “strong conservative,” depending on which mask he selects from his wardrobe on a given day.  There’s only one problem.  His record. 

As a Tallahassee politician, Hasner voted for numerous items that most conservatives oppose.  Of course, Hasner cannot be trusted to inform Florida Republicans about those positions in his non-conservative closet.  So, our campaign is offering a sort of public service.  We are providing voters a behind-the-scenes look at Adam Hasner’s Masquerade Ball.  When you pull back the curtain, you find the true identity of Hasner’s non-conservative record – the one that sits behind the conservative masks he proudly wears.

The Masquerade Ball gown Hasner has chosen on the key issues of taxes and spending is a prime example.  Hasner’s rhetoric simply does not match his record.

Continue reading "George LeMieux attacks Adam Hasner's record as 'Masquerade Ball'" »

Fla. House majority leader backs Adam Hasner

State Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, the Florida House majority leader and head of the Miami-Dade legislative delegation, is taking sides in the Republican race for U.S. Senate. Lopez-Cantera, a Miami Republican, is backing former House colleague Adam Hasner, the previous majority leader.

From a press release:

Republican Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera Endorses Adam Hasner For U.S. Senate

Boca Raton, FL - Florida House Republican Majority Leader Carlos-Lopez Cantera today announced his endorsement of Adam Hasner for United States Senate.

"As a small business owner, husband and a father, I'm deeply concerned about the direction of our country and the lack of leadership we see from both parties in Washington. Without a doubt, Adam Hasner is the only candidate Florida Republicans can trust to go to Washington and stand firm for the kind of limited government reforms needed to turn our country around," said Lopez-Cantera. "Having served alongside Adam, I witnessed firsthand his consistent dedication to the mainstream conservative principles of our party, even when they weren't popular. It's time for Florida Republicans to start to unite behind his campaign, so we can begin to focus our attention on winning back the United States Senate and defeating the Obama-Reid-Pelosi agenda."

"Carlos is an outstanding public servant and a champion for taxpayers, small businesses and free markets," said Adam Hasner. "I'm proud to have Carlos on my team, and look forward to working with him to build a winning grassroots campaign in Miami-Dade County."

Lopez-Cantera joins Dennis Baxley, Scott Plakon, FreedomWorks, Concerned Women for America, American Future Fund, Mark Levin, Erick Erickson, Monica Crowley, Ken Blackwell, and Joyce Kaufman in endorsing Adam's campaign for the United States Senate.

About Carlos Lopez-Cantera: Carlos Lopez-Cantera is a small businessman and member of the Greater Miami Realtors Association. He was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to serve on the Property Tax Reform Committee, and by Speaker Marco Rubio to serve on the My Safe Florida Home Advisory Council. A longtime advocate for lower property taxes, Lopez-Cantera sponsored a constitutional amendment to increase Homestead Exemptions for senior citizens, and a constitutional amendment to place a hard cap on property taxes. Lopez-Cantera and his wife have one daughter and live in Miami.

July 31, 2011

Will Newsmax mogul Chris Ruddy run for U.S. Senate? Maybe. Maybe not.

'You never say never," said Chris Ruddy, a 46-year-old media entrepreneur, when asked if he'd run for U.S. Senate.

In giving his answer, the founder of the wildly successful conservative Newsmax was channelling his best Jeb Bush, who refused to all but rule out a presidential bid on Sean Hannity's FOX show a few days back. Remember: Bush said appearing on Dancing with the Stars was not unlikely, either. And neither Bush nor Ruddy are ready to tango with voters.

"I'd say it's unlikely," Ruddy said of a run. Conservative attack dog Roger Stone (who favors another millionaire, Nick Loeb) reported on Twitter that Ruddy, though, is still considering the bid. True. Ruddy wouldn't rule out a run for some public office, either this year or in the future.

Here's a big reason why: Tony Fabrizio might be in Ruddy's corner. Fabrizio, mastermind behind Gov. Rick Scott's improbable 2010 victory, was spotted dining with Ruddy at Macaluso's in South Beach on Friday. It's the same Italian restaurant where Fabrizio had a sit-down with Scott and his family before he decided to make the plunge.

Unlike Scott, Ruddy wouldn't come to the race with the baggage of bad press clips. In fact, Ruddy used to produce them about President Bill Clinton and the like when he wrote for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. He's also probably not as wealthy as Scott, but Ruddy likely has millions. And it could cost about $25 million for him to win a Senate seat. He'd have to best Republican frontrunners Adam Hasner and George LeMieux and then take on incumbent Bill Nelson, a Democrat.

Like Scott, Ruddy's a political newcomer. So he doesn't have a record like Hasner's vote to raise taxes in 2009 or LeMieux's "I'm a Charlie Crist Republican" legacy.

But Ruddy also has a growing media empire to run. Newsmax has become one of the most influential publications in conservative circles. It even considered buying Newsweek. Ruddy was backing Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos for Senate before he withdrew from the race earlier this month.

Ruddy and Loeb aren't the only newcomers whispered about in Republican circles. Peter Schiff, a financial guru who unsuccessfully ran for Senate in Connecticut last year, was rumored to be considering a bid as well. His spokesman and brother, Andrew Schiff, threw cold water on the idea. Schiff was one of the first voices on cable to predict with chilling accuracy the recession (click here to watch him make Art Laffer look clueless on the economy).

Schiff has a home in Boca Raton. Loeb has a home in Delray Beach. Hasner is from Delray, too. And Ruddy lives in West Palm Beach. What's in the water in Palm Beach County?


July 29, 2011

Adam Hasner the Tallahassee insider rebranded as outsider

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.

Story here

July 28, 2011

Dis alert! Mike Haridopolos on endorsing one-time pal Adam Hasner: No way.

Senate President mike Haridopolos and former House Republican leader Adam Hasner used to be buddies. They served together in the Florida House "freedom caucus." They rode together and palled around on Bill McCollum (doomed) campaign bus. They called each other friends.

No longer, apparently.

They ran against each other for U.S. Senate until Haridopolos withdrew from the race unexpectedly after a string of unfortunate events. And he apparently thinks Hasner has a hand in his troubles. Hasner didn't really do that much.

"I can tell you one thing: I will not be supporting Adam Hasner for the Senate,” Haridopolos told the Orlando Sentinel today. "We need to be a party of big ideas, and not legislating one way and running another."


July 25, 2011

Adam Hasner's new mouthpiece, report

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Adam Hasner has a new comms director who's already pushing an aggressive message. Here's top of his intro email: 

My name is Doug Mayer and I have been recently brought on to serve as Adam Hanser’s campaign Communications Director.  This is the first of many morning campaign e-mail updates designed to give you a background heads up to where Adam will be throughout the week and what the campaign is keeping tabs on. 

 Feel free to contact me with any questions and I look forward to meeting and working with you throughout the campaign.




With the nation turned toward Washington D.C. in hopes that our elected leaders will stand firm and bring the country back into fiscal solvency, it is becoming increasingly obvious that Washington doesn’t need any more “deal makers” but additional principled conservatives.  Though this election is over a year away, there stands a clear choice for the people of Florida. Adam Hasner, a candidate secure his in conservative background and beliefs, or George LeMieux, the ultimate Florida political insider, the establishment “deal maker” who swims with the political tides of moment.  If the current debate in Washington, D.C. is of any lesson, it’s that there are already too many wheelers and dealers in our nation’s capital........

July 18, 2011

U.S. Senate math: 3 endorsements + 1 quote = Adam Hasner as future frontrunner

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos' abrupt withdrawal from the U.S. Senate race was a win for fellow Republican candidate Adam Hasner in every respect but one: Headline grabbing.

The Haridopolos announcement today stepped all over the Hasner news that he racked up three major endorsements from conservative groups: American Future Fund PAC, Concerned Women for America and FreedomWorks. Taken together, the groups represent a solid base of the Republican electorate, replete with e/mailing lists, donor contacts, volunteers and money for independent expenditures.

Again, the news of the endorsements getting buried is the big loss for Hasner, who has been eating up endorsements from the conservative movement and winning tea-party straw polls in recent weeks.

Still, it's not a cakewalk for Hasner.

Haridopolos and former Sen. George LeMieux were going to siphon moderate/center right/establishment votes from each other. So LeMieux can pick up those more centrist and/or left-leaning votes that might have gone to Haridopolos. And Tampa Bay's Mike McCallister is getting a little tea-party buzz that could mean he takes votes from Hasner. But McCallister's not much of a force (right now). Newcomer Craig Miller is even less of a threat. He came in third in a three-way Republican primary in a Central Florida congressional seat last year.

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