LeMieux Makes Way For Mack’s Money

21 Jun

LeMieux Bows Out It’s not surprising former U.S. senator, George LeMieux is dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination, to challenge Democratic Senator Bill Nelson. He doesn’t have Sheldon Adelson in his corner, and he lacks star quality.

Republican George LeMieux‘s Wednesday departure from the Florida Senate race virtually sealed up the Republican nomination for Rep. Connie Mack, who was the clear GOP frontrunner even before the former senator stepped aside and offered his endorsement. Now, Mack is all but guaranteed two additional months to sharpen his campaign and conserve financial resources ahead of a tough general election contest about which national Republican strategists are increasingly dubious.

(…)

“This is very good news for Connie,” said Florida GOP strategist Ana Navarro, a longtime friend of the Mack family. “It means he doesn’t have to spend practically any money in a primary and gets to pool his money for the general. Bill Nelson is well-funded and Connie will need every penny.”

While the financial disparity is pretty glaring, it’s not impossible for Mack to close the gap. Billionaire Sheldon Adelson is giving $1 million to a pro-Mack super PAC. Jeb Bush‘s endorsement of Mack earlier this month sent a strong signal to the GOP donor community. And other Republican outside groups like Crossroads can help close the gap even more, if the general election race is close come the fall.

There’s another reason why LeMieux’s exit could hardly have come at a better time for Mack. The Gulf Coast congressman has been taking heat for refusing to debate his opponents, and he has been forced to confront headlines about past physical confrontations. LeMieux’s exit is a badly needed good headline for Mack.

(…)

One of Mack’s chief assets is his name, which many observers point to as the main reason for his early polling success. Mack’s father was a senator and his grandfather is a member of the Baseball Hall Of Fame. LeMieux’s money woes made an already uphill climb even more daunting.

Yes, because baseball and SuperPAC money trump ideology.

We have campaigned on ideas, to balance the budget, to create jobs, to gain independence from foreign oil, and to improve our children’s education. And while our campaign has been strong, gaining support and winning straw polls, the decision has been made by party leadership that there is a better candidate to face Bill Nelson.

The establishment has thrown their support behind my competitor, Connie Mack. Ahead of us in the polls, the Mack name enjoys widespread recognition that can only be matched with substantial advertising or the opportunity to debate on statewide television.

Advertising, which our finances cannot support, and debates, which my competitor won’t agree to.

It is not my nature to step aside, but there is a reality to running a statewide race in Florida. Without the resources or the opportunity to debate, our message simply cannot be heard.

We never knew you, George!

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