Florida State Rep. Adam Hasner, a Republican, announced on Mark Levin’s radio program on Monday night that he plans to run for the Florida Senate seat, currently held by Democratic Senator Bill Nelson.
The conservative Republican served eight years in the Florida House of Representatives and was chosen by fellow Republican and then Speaker of the Florida State House Marco Rubio to serve as Majority Leader of that chamber.
Senator Bill Nelson, Florida Democrat, may be pleased that early poll numbers for his 2012 re-election campaign from the Democratic leaning Public Policy Polling outfit show him leading potential challengers by at least 13 points, but firing up the voters to come out and support him is another issue. If Floridians are reminded of Mr. Nelson’s consistent support of President Obama’s policy initiatives from a solid announced challenger, Senator Nelson could have a tougher race on his hands
“Bill Nelson has demonstrated that he is a rubber stamp for the Obama administration and he’s out of touch with the solution that we need to implement in order to get America back on the right track,” Mr. Hasner told me on Monday. The Florida GOP’er goes after the notion that Mr. Nelson is really a “moderate” or “Blue Dog” Democrat.
“He has benefited from years of being able to go into one room and say one thing and then going into another room and saying another, but when you look at his voting record, you’ll realize very easily he has a liberal voting record that matches up with the Obama agenda,” Mr. Hasner explained. “He supported stimulus and bailouts, Obamacare, cap and trade, card check. That’s not a voting record of somebody who can continue to portray himself as a moderate.”
Florida is a key state for it’s plethora of electoral votes during presidential campaign seasons. President Obama is not the powerhouse he once presented himself as when he won Florida in 2008 and a politician like Mr. Nelson who likes to play both sides may have a tough time detaching himself from the poor support Floridians are showing for the Democratic policy agenda.
According to an April 7 Quinnipiac poll on Florida voters’ attitudes: (bolding is mine)
Today’s numbers compare to results of a February 3 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University, when the President was almost dead even in the trifecta:
47 percent job approval, with 49 percent disapproving;
40 percent for Obama, compared to 42 percent for an unnamed GOP challenger;
45 percent saying four more years compared to 48 percent saying no.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who like Obama is on the 2012 ballot, is in better shape, with a 47 - 26 percent approval rating, a 43 - 39 percent lead over an unidentified Republican and voters saying 43 - 35 percent that he deserves another term in the Senate.
Although by 65 - 30 percent, Florida voters back the U.S. Supreme Court decision establishing a woman’s right to have an abortion, their support for requiring an ultrasound reflects strong Republican support and more modest opposition from Democrats and independents. Republicans approve of the ultrasound requirement 68 - 28 percent, while opposition is 54 - 41 percent among Democrats and 52 - 43 percent among independent voters.
On energy matters, voters support 60 - 35 percent increasing the amount of offshore drilling for oil and natural gas, with Republicans and independent voters behind the idea 82 - 16 percent and 58 - 38 percent respectively. Democrats are opposed 52 - 43 percent.
The public attitudes on building new nuclear plants in the state reflect the “Not In My Backyard” view. Voters split 48 - 47 percent on support for new nuclear plants in Florida, but they oppose 58 - 39 percent building nuclear plants in their city or town.
Support for the war in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, as Florida voters say 59 - 36 percent the United States should not be involved in the war there.
Voters are divided 46 - 46 percent on whether they approve of the president’s handling of the situation in Libya.
Support for Congress repealing the “health care law” that passed last year is 49 - 41 percent, and 54 - 40 percent when the question is phrased “health care reform law.”
Despite Quinnipiac showing Floridians overwhelmingly supporting offshore drilling, Mr. Nelson has held the Obama administration’s line and continues to oppose it.
“While I was in the state legislature I supported legislation for offshore [drilling], so I’m on record for supporting off shore energy legislation,” Mr. Hasner pointed out. “This is an issue of national security and we need to make our country more energy secure and part of that is more domestic exploration in the Gulf as well as in parts of Alaska, in Anwar, as well as utilization of new technologies for shale.”
The new health care law is not well received by Foridians in this poll either, but Mr. Nelson not only voted for it but called the new legislation a “job creator.”
In an e-mail to supporters, Mr. Hasner reminded them (h/t Sunshine News):
“Bill Nelson was one of the senators who provided the razor-thin margin to keep funding Obamacare. That’s the second time Bill Nelson has stopped us from getting rid of this failed legislation,” continued Hasner. “Whether it is Obamacare, the stimulus, Wall Street bailouts, the food safety bill — on vote after vote, Bill Nelson has chosen to side with Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and President Obama over the people of Florida.”
Mr. Hasner is already getting thumbs up from conservative grassroots and some are looking to infuse the same energy into the Hasner campaign that now Senator Marco Rubio had during the 2010 mid-term election cycle.
In the meantime, Mr. Hasner will need to get through the primaries where former Republican Senator George Lemieux, appointed by former Florida Republican governor Charlie Crist, will be waiting to face him. Given the battle within the Florida GOP in 2008 that forced the liberal governor to run as an unaffiliated candidate against now Senator Marco Rubio, Mr. Hasner wasted no time earlier this month to get his remarks out on Mr. Lemiuex calling the former Senator another “Charlie Crist Republican.”
If Mr. Hasner is able to rise up out of what could very well be an intense primary fight, he may very well have what it takes for his own lift off to the United States Senate and send Senator Nelson back home.