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Dennis Baxley, Crist critic and Stand Your Ground author, endorses George LeMieux

Forget about Herman Cain's endorsement of Republican Senate candidate George LeMieux. Ocala Rep. Dennis Baxley's probably is more significant. Baxley is a former Florida Christian Coalition head and he sponsored the controversial 2005 Stand Your Ground law. Baxley also carried the Republican legislation cracking down on voter-registration -- a piece of legislation the Democrats say amounts to "voter suppression."

In short: Baxley is a real-deal heartland conservative. Perhaps most significantly, Baxley was a critic of former Gov. Charlie Crist, whose top advisor was LeMieux. Crist's decision to bolt the GOP in his 2010 failed Senate race against Marco Rubio made him one of the most-reviled politicians in the GOP. So, with Baxley's endorsement, maybe (just maybe) LeMieux is shedding the Crist baggage.

Still, he's short on money and name ID when compared to Republican Connie Mack.

The press release:

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Florida House Representative Dennis Baxley, R – Ocala, today endorsed George LeMieux for US Senate. Baxley was Speaker Pro Tem for Marco Rubio in the Florida House and the Former Executive Director of Christian Coalition of Florida.

“Today I am proud to join Herman Cain and 31 other State Legislators and endorse George LeMieux for US Senate,” said Representative Dennis Baxley. “George is a faithful husband and father, and has a solid pro-life, pro-family, pro-free enterprise, pro-Second Amendment voting record. He is the most competent candidate we have to beat Bill Nelson. Connie Mack IV is not his father.  Mack has an abysmal personal financial legacy, attacked Arizona for addressing its illegal immigration problems, and supports embryonic stem cell research. I served with Connie in the Florida House and love him dearly, but he has performed poorly and is not ready to lead. Nelson will tear Mack apart if he is the Republican nominee. George LeMieux is the only candidate who can defeat Nelson and we must stand with George to take back the Senate in November.”

“Representative Baxley has an exceptional history of serving Florida and its conservative community,” said George LeMieux. “Dennis did a tremendous job as Senator Rubio’s Speaker Pro Tem in the Florida House and I am honored to receive his endorsement in my bid for US Senate. Bill Nelson currently cancels out every vote Senator Rubio casts and it is time to retire Nelson and send a true conservative to Washington.”

This endorsement follows three consecutive landslide straw poll victories, the endorsement of Herman Cain, 31 sitting Florida legislators, former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Tom Slade, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, the National Tax Limitation Committee PAC, former Mayors Rich Crotty and John Peyton, conservative radio host Joyce Kaufman, and the Recreational Fishing Alliance.