by Javier ManjarresMany Republican activists around the state are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the Party’s chances to defeat incumbent Senator Bill Nelson, as both Congressman Connie Mack and former Senator George LeMieux have under performed and have largely failed to inspire the conservative grassroots base of the Party.
The most recent Republican primary polls have Mack with a seemingly insurmountable lead over LeMieux and Mike McCalister. But even with Mack frontrunner status and a significant advantage in term of name identification, Mack has slipped in recent polls that have him going head-to-head against incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson. Pollsters have changed the Senate seat back to “leaning Democrat.”The latest Quinnipiac poll has Nelson with an 8 point lead over Mack in a head to head matchup. **UPDATE-(Latest Rasmussen poll has Mack leading Nelson by 7-Rasmussen)
Mack has seen considerable pushback from conservatives for his support for embryonic stem cell research, and his campaign turned off many ‘Tea Party’ leaders to the point that many of them are now leaning towards supporting LeMieux.
LeMieux is relishing this new found support from Tea Party organizations and other people are considering his candidacy simply because he is the only other viable candidate at this juncture. But LeMieux has more significant issues to contend with, including he close partnership with former Governor Charlie Crist. Both Crist and LeMieux have been accused of knowing all about former RPOF Chairman Jim Greer’s controversial business dealings that landed him in jail.(Read more: Miami Herald)
Miami Herald reporter Marc Caputo noted that even “the Club for Growth, has declined to get involved in the race. “We’re still looking at it,” a spokesman said. In August, before Mack jumped in, the club’s leader lamented the absence of a candidate like Sen. Marco Rubio, who bested Crist in 2010.– Miami HeraldNational Tea Party organizations like FreedomWorks have also been noncommittal about the race and have focused their advocacy efforts elsewhere in recent weeks.
Considering the fact that both Mack and LeMieux are only sitting on about $1 million dollars apiece, Nelson is enjoying a significant advantage at this point that is keeping many potential donors and supporters on the sidelines– potential supporters who perhaps are holding out for the possibility of a late entrance by a candidate who can quickly rally the base and assemble a formidable campaign that can pose a serious threat to Nelson’s chances in November.
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