Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Fighting for 2012 seat, Senate candidate brings up GOP star

Adam Hasner, a candidate for U.S. Senate, is airing an Internet ad attacking George LeMieux.

Adam Hasner, a former state legislator from Palm Beach County running in the 2012 GOP primary for U.S. Senate, portrays opponent George LeMieux as being cozy with former Gov. Charlie Crist -- who defected from the GOP to become an independent in the midst of his failed U.S. Senate bid in 2010.

And if association with Crist and Democratic President Barack Obama is supposed to be the kiss of death for a Republican in Florida, Hasner hopes that any inkling of criticism of GOP superstar Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is an even worse offense in a Republican primary.

On June 10, 2011, Hasner released an Internet ad called "Get to know the real George LeMieux" with mournful music as the backdrop.

The ad makes a series of allegations against LeMieux. We decided to focus on the two that included references to Rubio.

First, Hasner said that LeMieux "falsely attacked Marco Rubio." The ad doesn't say what the attack was, or why it was false, but we tracked it back to comments LeMieux made about a tax plan Rubio floated in 2007 while Florida House speaker. LeMieux said the plan constituted "the largest tax increase in Florida history."

But that's not right.

Rubio actually proposed to eliminate property taxes on all primary residences. To make up for some of that revenue, however, the state sales tax would be increased by 2.5 cents per dollar -- subject to voter approval.

What would be the overall effect to taxpayers? The swap would save taxpayers a total of $5.8 billion in the first year, according to a state analysis.

So we rated Hasner's claim Mostly True.

The second claim was that LeMieux "even compared Marco Rubio to Barack Obama." But we found that LeMieux didn't compare Rubio and Obama on any substantive issue like those listed at the start of the ad. Instead, he said Rubio and Obama both used a familiar campaign tactic, throwing "bombs" about something they didn't have to vote on themselves.

The ad provided no explanation for how he compared the two politicians and also neglected to note that LeMieux supported Rubio's campaign once Crist left the GOP.

We rated that Hasner claim Barely True.