Recipe for Jewish Republican Success

Florida Senate Hopeful Adam Hasner Taps Tea Party Rhetoric

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published January 27, 2012, issue of February 03, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

For a few months this fall, it looked as if Hasner had a serious shot at being Florida Republicans’ choice to take on Nelson in November. But observers say those hopes grew slim in November. In the words of one Republican elected official in Florida, that’s when Hasner “got hit by the Mack truck.”

That’s Mack as in Rep. Connie Mack IV, son of the former Florida senator and great-grandson of the Philadelphia baseball legend, still fondly remembered by at least one Jewish south Florida retirement community resident as the last guy to wear a suit in the dugout.

Mack’s name recognition and political ties immediately upended the field. Hasner now barely registers in Florida polls, clocking in at 3% to Mack’s 40%. And though he has raised more money than Mack, one insider says that Hasner is on the brink of losing the support of some Florida fundraisers who had previously committed to him.

Hasner announced his Senate run in April, a month after Mack had insisted that he wasn’t interested in the seat. In July, apparent frontrunner Mike Haridopolos, a member of the Florida state senate, dropped out of the race.

Hasner’s remaining key opponent was George LeMieux, the onetime chief of staff to former Florida governor Charlie Crist who served 18 months as Crist’s appointee to the U.S. Senate following the resignation of Mel Martinez. The relationship to Crist is a serious liability for LeMieux in the eyes of conservative Republicans. Crist ran as an independent in a 2010 Senate race, after losing to conservative upstart Marco Rubio in the primary, infuriating party members. Rubio eventually won the seat.

Hasner has made much of his opponent’s ties to the former governor. A bumper sticker offered by the campaign reads, “LeMieux: It’s French for Crist” over a background that suggests the French tricolore.

Palm Beach County Republican Party chairman Sid Dinerstein said that the attacks over LeMieux’s relationship with Crist are irrelevant to Republican voters. “Nobody cares,” Dinerstein said. “The electorate doesn’t even know what you’re talking about.”

As the field thinned in the fall, Hasner apparently surged, winning the CPAC Florida straw poll and collecting endorsements from the Family Research Council, Tea Party group FreedomWorks, radio host Mark Levin and RedState.com blogger Erick Erickson.

Hasner had raised $1.1 million as of September 30, the latest federal filing deadline.

But attracted, perhaps, by a thinned and vulnerable field, Mack jumped into the race in November. His fundraising efforts are catching up. His campaign announced on January 12 that it had raised $758,000 in the final quarter of 2011.

Mack is not without his own baggage. The former restaurant event planner divorced his wife in 2006, after serving in the House of Representatives for one year, to marry California congresswoman Mary Bono Mack, Sonny Bono’s widow.

Jewish Democrats paint Hasner as inconsistent, and even some Republicans suggest he has shifted way to the right over the course of the campaign.

“Adam Hasner is a political opportunist,” said Florida congresswoman and Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. “He’s dramatically out of step with the values and the priorities of the Jewish community and always has been.”

Meanwhile, Democrats also question the vulnerability of Nelson, who won his seat after Connie Mack III’s retirement in 2001. Michael Adler, immediate past chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council, who hosted a fundraiser for Nelson in the spring at his home with President Obama, suggested that Nelson will benefit from the Obama campaign’s voter turnout efforts in Florida.

Hasner says he’s not worried. “I’ve learned in this race something I knew when I became a candidate nine months ago, that running against the establishment in the Republican Party is not easy.”

Voters are not yet focused on the Senate primary. When they are, he believes he will gain support.

“Not only will I stand up to Democrats, but I’ll stand up to Republicans who act like them,” Hasner said.

Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at nathankazis@forward.com. Follow him on Twitter @joshnathankazis


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.