Crist names former aide to Senate

Florida governor risks charges of cronyism with his choice to replace outgoing Sen. Mel Martinez

Published August 28, 2009 3:45PM (EDT)

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has made his choice of a replacement for Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., who announced his resignation earlier this summer. It was a thorny issue for Crist, considering that he's running for Martinez's seat, and he may have caused himself a little trouble with his choice -- George LeMieux, his former chief of staff.

Though Crist is a very popular governor who's widely expected to walk away with the Senate seat, he is facing an attack from the right in the Republican primary. Marco Rubio, the former speaker of the Florida Hosue, is running against Crist and has picked up support from some conservatives. Adam Smith, the political editor of the St. Petersburg Times, says Rubio is likely to get a boost from the choice of LeMieux, as "no other name on Crist's list would have ticked off [the] activist base as much."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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