FL Gov. Charlie Crist Taps Former Chief Of Staff For Vacant U.S. Senate Seat

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has named George LeMieux, his former chief of staff, to fill the vacant seat left by the abruptly resigning GOP Sen. Mel Martinez.

The new senator said it is his love of Florida and his sons’ future “that make me relish this honor and relish the work ahead.” Calling LeMieux a dedicated public servant and “a great man,” Crist said: “He will serve well. He has even argued a case before the United States Supreme Court … his public service is extraordinary.” “I’m happy for my friend and I’m extremely happy for my state,” Crist said. The two men embraced as Crist briefly paid tribute to the other contenders for the Senate seat. “I want to thank all the wonderful people who went through this process,” Crist said. “This is a grueling thing to do.”

LeMieux has never held elected office. Crist himself is expected to run for the seat in 2010. Nice how that works, huh? Appoint your buddy, then replace him. LeMieux was recently paid $150K by the GOP for “consulting fees,” but he won’t say what he did to earn the money. Hmmm. He also orchestrated almost $1M in donations from the Seminole Indian tribe since Crist won the gubernatorial primary in 2006. Crist supports casino gambling on tribal reservations.