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George LeMieux breaks with Charlie Crist

Pundits had questioned what a Crist indie bid would mean for George LeMieux, Crist's one top aide whom Crist appointed to the Senate. Here's the answer: "I am saddened that my friend, Governor Crist, has decided to leave the Republican Party.

"Our friendship runs deep, but my commitment to the principles of the Republican Party runs deeper," said LeMieux, who has been talked about as a potential 2012 challenger to Democrat Bill Nelson. "I cannot walk down the path he has chosen. Now more than ever, our nation’s future depends on our ability to uphold the core Republican ideals of fiscal restraint, peace through strength, individual liberty, personal responsibility and smaller government.

"I will support our Republican nominee and will continue to do everything I can both in Florida and across the country to increase the number of Republicans in the United States Senate."