August 28, 2009 | 10:59am
Charlie Crist will appoint George LeMieux, his former chief of staff, to Mel Martinez's vacated Senate seat, according to an Associated Press source. State Rep. Jennifer Carroll, who was also considered for the job, spilled the beans. The official announcement is expected to be made later today. Update: It is official.
LeMieux has said the only difference between Crist and himself is that the governor is a Bucs fan while LeMieux, a Broward native, is a Dolphins fan. He's even gone as far as calling himself
a "Charlie Crist Republican."
LeMieux ran Crist's gubernatorial campaign in 2006 and was his chief of staff until 2007, when he left for a private law firm.
Crist himself will run for the Senate seat in 2010 but decided early on not to appoint himself. Tapping LeMieux, though, is pretty much the closest thing to appointing himself. More than any other candidate, LeMieux gives off the appearance of being a Crist puppet, a notion that could be used to attack Crist in the Republican primary against Marco Rubio and later in the general election.
LeMieux has no previous elected experience but was head of the Broward County Republican Party and was a deputy attorney general while Crist served as attorney general.