Republicans are bracing for a tough 2012 U.S. Senate primary pitting such political heavyweights as a former U.S. senator, a sitting Florida Senate president and the congressman son of a Republican icon.But to hear a growing number of Republican activists tell it, the candidate to watch is a fellow few Floridians have heard of."Absolutely -- it's Adam Hasner,'' said Nancy McGowan, a prominent conservative activist and fundraiser from Jacksonville. "A primary for the most part is determined by the grass roots who look for the leadership they like, and people know Adam as someone who understands public policy, is a tenacious fighter and has the moral courage of his convictions.''The 41-year-old former state House Majority Leader lacks the statewide profile of Senate President Mike Haridopolos, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux and U.S. Rep. Connie Mack -- the potential field vying to pick off Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida's only statewide Democratic leader. But for years the Boca Raton lawyer has built a conservative network and in recent weeks he's met with activists, money-raisers and political operatives in every corner of the state."I think he'll be a fabulous candidate,'' said Mel Sembler of St. Petersburg, former ambassador and finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. "I've followed his career and have a lot of respect for him. He's got a lot of friends and will have a lot of support.''Hasner says only that he's seriously looking at running for the 2012 GOP nomination and has heard lots of encouragement.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
From Adam C. Smith of The St. Petersburg Times on Jan. 31: