Republicans are eager to claim incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson's political scalp in the 2012 election, but no clear Republican candidate has emerged yet. State Rep. Adam Hasner, who represents parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, has begun an exploratory committee but is little known around the state.
The young and extremely conservative lawmaker, though, just picked up the endorsement of Erick Erickson, a CNN pundit and proprietor of influential conservative blog Red State. He's the same guy who helped raise Marco Rubio to right-wing stardom in 2010.
Erickson's endorsement is brief and to-the-point:
Adam Hasner has, I think, the best background and most conservative record to run in Florida. I hope you will join me in supporting him. We cannot afford to lose Florida to either the Democrats, or the squishy Republicans.
Erickson also criticizes possible Republican candidate and former interim Sen. George LeMieux by calling him George "LeChrist." Erickson has also previously attacked another GOP candidate in the race, state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, going so far as to ask him to quit the race.
In the latest polling from Public Policy Polling in late March, Hasner is trailing incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson 48-32. Hasner also trails among other candidates in primary polling, pulling only 3 percent in a PPP poll from December.
Though he still has plenty of time to gain popularity. Remember, Rubio was a nobody at this stage in his campaign.
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Besides their youth and superconservatism, Rubio and Hasner have a lot in common. When Rubio was speaker of the house, he chose Hasner first as deputy majority leader and then majority leader in the body.
Hasner is viewed as one of the most conservative members of the Florida Legislature, and his controversial views on Islam have gotten him into trouble. In 2009, he purposely left the chamber while an imam led the House in prayer. He also helped bring a controversial anti-Islamic filmmaker from the Netherlands to speak in Florida.