Former Gov. Charlie Crist
(I) appointed LeMieux to serve in the Senate in 2009 when Sen. Mel Martinez
(R) left the Senate before his term was up. He served 16 months, and generally toed
the conservative party line -- but despite those conservative credentials, he may have trouble shaking his affiliation with Crist.
LeMieux was Crist's chief of staff before being appointed as senator, and famously said
"I'm a Charlie Crist Republican," before being appointed.
When Crist left the Republican Party to mount an independent run for Senate, LeMieux distanced himself from Crist just a day later, saying he was "saddened" by Crist's decision. "Our friendship runs deep, but my commitment to the principles of the Republican Party runs deeper," LeMieux said
at the time.
LeMieux recently defended his past relationship with Crist, saying
, "When he walked away from the party and our policies, I didn't walk with him."