by Javier Manjarres
Now that CFO Jeff Atwater as official announced that he will not seek the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, his announcement now clears the field for former U.S. Senator George LeMieux and Congressman Connie Mack continue their bitter Republican primary race.
In a recent BizPac interview with Michelle Kirk, LeMieux seized at the opportunity to throw a few more barbs at Congressman Mack. In the interview, LeMieux repeated his depiction of Connie Mack being a “career politician” and trying to run on his father Connie Mack III’s name.
The apple has fallen far from the tree.- George LeMieux about Connie Mack IV
When asked about his past relationship with former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, LeMieux shrugged off the question by say that he thinks “it’s less and less important.” LeMieux also stated that he campaigned for and with Senator Marco Rubio in 2010.
Yes, LeMieux did campaign for Senator Rubio, and even endorsed the Senator here on the Shark Tank, but the endorsement came only after Crist left the Republican party and ran as an Independent.
But what Senator LeMieux fails to understand is that the Republican base has not forgotten about the type of smear Republican primary campaign Crist ran against Rubio leading up to his leaving the GOP long before LeMieux endorsed Rubio over Crist.
During the campaign, Rubio himself was disgusted over how LeMieux worked against him in the U.S. Senate and around the state, this after Crist appointed him to Mel Martinez’s vacated seat. Then, while joining Rubio on one of his bus tours, Rubio was asked by a supporter if he (the supporter) should support LeMieux in the 2012 Senate race, and Rubio stated, “wait, there will be better candidates that may announce soon.”
There is no secret that Rubio, while ever so polite and cordial to LeMieux, still carries a certain degree of recentment towards LeMieux and Crist- Rubio knows the truth.
Remember, LeMieux had not officially announced his run for office, he was merely testing the waters and asking key activists around the state for their support. Couple his past Crist ties with the upcoming Jim Greer trial where Greer has already tried to throw LeMieux under the political bus, and you may very well be seeing the LeMieux’s campaign unravel.
But like we said before, LeMieux is a very strong candidate, and he is criss-crossing the state and retail politicking just as Rubio did in 2012.. LeMieux, if anything is resilient.
One point that LeMieux continualy makes about Mack is that he enjoys high name recognition largely in part because of his father, former U.S. Senator Connie Mack III.
Another good point LeMieux makes about Mack is that he did beat Mack in the two latest straw polls among grassroots activists. Up to this point, LeMieux has out-campaigned Mack by a mile. This was Mack’s race to lose, and he could still lose it if he refuses to work work for it and earn it.
It’s a fairly common complaint from many within the conservative base of the Republican Party that Mack seems very dismissive of activist groups and is simply running on his name alone.
Both men need to take a step back and re-assess their respective campaigns and decide on whether or not to forge a new path that will deliver them the Republican nomination and lead them to victory over Democratic Senator Bill Nelson.
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