Broward News

Meek, Rubio, I-Team Ganging Up on Crist and LeMieux, But Other Broward Dems Are Gun-Shy

Congressman Kendrick Meek just posted the above video from CBS 4's Tuesday newscast to his campaign's YouTube account, and you can see why. It shows Charlie Crist playing dumb about the role that George LeMieux's law firm, Gunster Yoakley, played in getting visas for the immigrant workers who were hired for a big hotel-condo project in Bal Harbor instead of unionized American workers. Jim DeFede, who's a former writer for this paper, pointed out that while LeMieux may not have worked directly on that case, he was the firm's chairman and deserves to be held accountable for all that his attorneys did under his watch.

By the same token, it's remarkable how despite a chorus of boos from South Florida editorial pages and despite the huge political stakes in the 2010 election, local congressional Democrats have been limp in their reactions to LeMieux's appointment.

Check out Miramar Congressman Alcee Hastings around the one-minute mark of this video calling LeMieux "a good politician" before adding, "I'm happy for George." Self-professed "fire-breathing liberal" Robert Wexler would rather blow smoke up LeMieux's skirt. After the pick, Wexler called LeMieux a "man of great integrity and intelligence" who will make an "excellent senator." Two other members of the congressional delegation with districts in LeMieux's native Broward County, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ron Klein, haven't made any statement about the senator. (If they have, I haven't seen it.)

Clearly, a U.S. rep never relishes making an enemy of one of his or her home state's senators, but their Democrat colleague Meek has ground to make up against Crist in the polls, and  this is his best chance yet. So the compliments by some of those Democrats and the silence of the others may be an indication that LeMieux is an intimidating force in Broward politics, even if he's destined to be the low man on the Senate's totem pole.

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Thomas Francis