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LeMieux Aims Past GOP Rivals in Video Targeting Nelson

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Former Sen. George LeMieux didn’t make the same mistake twice.

The Florida Republican was hammered by opponents for an amateurish video in April that launched his campaign to get his job back as Senator. But a graphics-laden Web video released Wednesday looked like a well-made campaign ad.

In an email announcing the video, LeMieux called two-term Sen. Bill Nelson (D) his “opponent” and omitted mention of his two competitors for the GOP Senate nomination, former Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner and Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

The video emphasizes just how little time LeMieux spent on the Hill, while putting him on equal footing with Nelson.

“Career politician Bill Nelson has been in political office for 39 years,” the narrator says. “George LeMieux served in the Senate for just 16 months.”

The ad then contrasts LeMieux’s conservative votes to Nelson’s liberal ones. “Nelson voted for Obamacare and was one of its biggest cheerleaders,” the narrator says. “LeMieux voted against Obamacare.”

LeMieux faces an uphill battle in his race against Hasner and Haridopolos, who are both attempting to position themselves to his right and connect him in voters’ minds to former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (I).

Crist appointed LeMieux to the Senate in 2009 to fill the final year of retiring Sen. Mel Martinez’s term. Crist became politically toxic in Republican circles when he bolted the party in a losing attempt to win a Senate race against now-Sen. Marco Rubio (R).

LeMieux was spotted on Capitol Hill on Wednesday with Rubio. Rubio’s communications director, Joe Pounder, called it a “courtesy visit.”

Rubio is planning on staying neutral in the GOP primary.

CQ staff writer Emily Cadei contributed to this report.

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