By Javier ManjarresThe latest Quinnipiac Poll of Florida’s U.S. Senate race has Congressman Connie Mack well ahead of the rest of the field of Republican candidates- even before he formally declares his candidacy for the race.
The poll shows Mack trailing incumbent Senator Bill Nelson by a slim 42-40 margin – no other Republican candidate comes that close to Nelson as of yet.
Sources close to Mack have stated that he will soon make a formal announcement declaring his candidacy, months after initially announcing that he would not run for the seat. According to a close acquaitance of Mack, the likely reason for his entrance into the race is because he feels that neither former U.S. Senator GeorgeLeMieux or former Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner can beat Nelson, and his candidacy represents the best chance to beat Nelson.
The forthcoming Mack announcement will certainly alter the landscape of the race, and it will also create a huge scramble for Mack’s current Congressional seat, as no less than six Republican candidates will by vying for his soon-to-be vacated seat.
But just how much of an impact will Mack’s entrance make in the race? Florida politicos say that Mack will take away from LeMieux, and LeMieux’s recent attack ad against Mack shows that he is concerned with Mack’s ability to make inroads with his supporters.Mack will certainly have an advantage in terms of name ID, and he will have no problems raising money. Mack’s potential problem may lie in attracting the conservative vote that voted for Senator Marco Rubio in 2010. During the 2010 election cycle, Congressman Mack not only opposed the Arizona immigration law, but he attacked other people for supporting it, comparing them to the Gestapo in Hitler’s Nazi Germany -remarks he has yet to apologize for.
The same Florida politicos also say that when Mack first arrived in Congress, he was part of the “go along to get along” Republican mindset that grew the deficit and voted for earmarks. Even as late as 2008, Connie Mack bragged on his website about bringing home the proverbial bacon to his district.
These issues could prove to be problematic for Mack once the Republican electorate begins to really vet the candidates and dig into their records.
With all of that said, 45% of Republicans that are still undecided and have not yet committed to a candidate. Expect that all political guns will now turn on Mack, as they always do towards the front runner of any race.