Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Reporter James L. Rosica covers state government from the Tribune's Tallahassee bureau. Email
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Cain endorses LeMieux
Posted Apr 29, 2012 by William March
Updated Apr 28, 2012 at 08:42 PM
In a speech at the Hernando County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day fundraising dinner Friday night, former presidential contender Herman Cain endorsed George LeMieux in Florida’s U.S. Senate race.
The endorsement is another hint that LeMieux could mount a serious challenge to Fort Myers Rep. Connie Mack in the Republican Senate primary, despite trailing Mack by a big margin in polls and despite LeMieux’s less-than-impressive fundraising numbers.
Cain retains some of the popularity in Florida that led to his unexpected victory in the state GOP’s Presidency 5 straw poll in November, even though his presidential campaign came to an embarrassing end in December in the face of sexual harassment and adultery accusations, which he denies.
Why would Cain take sides in the Florida U.S. Senate primary? One reason could be Debbie Cox-Roush, former Hillsborough County GOP chairman and LeMieux’s statewide grass-roots chairman. Cox-Roush also worked for Cain’s campaign, and introduced him at the Hernando dinner.
LeMieux spoke at the same dinner, just before Cain. Cox-Roush said Cain told her during the dinner that he had been following the primary in Florida, and decided to make the endorsement after hearing LeMieux speak.