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As more of Jeb’s people back Adam Hasner, speculation grows about an endorsement

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More good news today for Florida Senate candidate Adam Hasner, as the campaign announces the endorsements of two well-respected Florida Republicans from Jeb Bush’s inner circle:

POLITICO | David Catanese | Hasner nabs Bradshaw, Shanahan

Adam Hasner has landed the endorsements of two influential Florida GOP political hands in his bid for U.S. Senate.
Sally Bradshaw, the longtime aid to Jeb Bush, confirmed to POLITICO she’s backing Hasner and contributed $2,500 to his effort.  The St. Petersburg Times had that news first.

Bradshaw explained her decision in an email to POLITICO.  “Sometimes what you know about individuals, their record on issues, the way they interact with others, their history with the party and their efforts at growing it, gives you a pretty good clue as to what they would do as a public official. This wasn’t particularly complicated for me.  I know both,” she said, referring to Hasner and former Sen. George LeMieux.

George did an admirable job as a Senator but we need an authentic and consistent conservative and records over time tell the story,” she continued.

POLITICO has also learned that Kathleen Shanahan, a former chief of staff to Jeb Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, is throwing her support behind Hasner.

“Throughout my time in public service I’ve gotten a chance to see the candidates up close, and Adam is the only candidate in this race with a record of consistent conservatism,” said Shanahan in an email.

“Adam’s record, his focus on solutions-based limited government reforms, and his commitment to the mainstream principles of the Republican Party make him the best candidate to defeat Senator Nelson in 2012,” she continued.

It is noteworthy that Bradshaw chose to expressly criticize George LeMieux in her endorsement, echoing the words from former Speaker of the House Allan Bense earlier this week, when he stated that he’d “known both Adam and George throughout the years” and that “[i]t’s not enough to just elect any Republican.”

More importantly, this latest string of endorsements for Hasner has led many to speculate that Jeb Bush himself may weigh in soon. 

Brian E. Crowley of the Crowley Political Report spoke directly with the former Governor earlier today, and said that his conversation “leaves the door wide open for Bush to lend his name to one of the candidates:”

Crowley Political Report | Jeb Bush does not rule out backing a candidate in U.S. Senate race

A Bush endorsement in the race would have a powerful impact on the outcome. While Bush did not indicate which way he would lean, a big clue came today when his closest political confident, Sally Bradshaw, announced that she is backing former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner.

Those who have watched Bush and Bradshaw work together believe that Bradshaw would be unlikely to back Hasner without at least a tacit nod from Bush.

Another dynamic at work is that Hasner’s wife, Jillian Inmon Hasner, worked on Bush’s campaigns and in his administration. She also worked for former President George W. Bush’s campaigns.

…The Bush family believes in loyalty and Jeb Bush stays close to many of those who helped him with his political career.

Of course, as Crowley notes, Jeb’s endorsement is not a given, and the Hasner campaign will have to continue to make gains to secure his support. On the other hand, the static between Bush and his successor, Charlie Crist, is well known, as Crist worked to unwind a number of key Bush initiatives. It seems highly improbable that Bush would endorse Crist’s “maestro,” George LeMieux.

The shape of the 2012 Florida Republican Senate primary is coming into sharper focus as the supporters of Charlie Crist line up behind George LeMieux and the allies of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio stand with Adam Hasner.

Where do you stand?

[Cross-posted at Sunshine State Sarah]

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