By Javier ManjarresIt’s increasingly clear that the dynamics of Florida’s 2012 U.S. Senate race are completely different from those of Marco Rubio’s 2010 Senatorial race, as Rubio himself has said that this year’s race will be “a more conventional race.” The latest Quinnipiac poll has Congressman Connie Mack with a huge lead over former U.S. Senator George LeMieux, 40%-7%.
But with former Congressman Dave Weldon jumping into the race, his entrance could liven up the race a bit, since a vote for him will probably take away from the current support that LeMieux is enjoying from a good chunk of the social conservative wing of the Republican Party. Dave Weldon’s recent entrance into the race was too late to be factored into the Quinnipiac Poll.
Congressman Mack has been targeted by LeMieux and by now Weldon for missing votes while campaigning in Florida. Mack recently missed the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2012 (PRENDA), and Weldon, who is considered to be the some to be the most ‘socially conservative’ of the bunch had this to say about Mack’s missed vote-
My opponent, Connie Mack, missed the vote on this bill and has clearly abdicated his responsibility to the people of Florida and to the unborn. While social issues may not be important to my opponent, I can assure you that I will vote to protect life and I will lead to enact protection for all life; from cradle to grave. After all, the right to life is endowed by our Creator and outlined by our Constitution – and the fact my opponent doesn’t understand this basic human right to life is disturbing.”-Fmr. Congressman Dave Weldon
Congressman Mack has told the St.Petersburg Times that it was a matter of “balancing” and that “We’re going to to do the best we can to run an effective campaign and make sure we do our work here in Washington.”But now Right-to-Life grassroots activists whose first concern is the abortion issue are again calling into question Mack’s pro-life bona fides. Mack has been taking jab after jab from the Right to Lifers for his past support of embryonic stem cell research. Now with another missed vote on another life issue, these same activists believe that Mack is lacking when it comes to pro-life considerations.
In Mack’s defense, Mack has received a 100% rating from the National Right to Life organization, and voted against abortion and variant bills that would support its funding, but he did vote for expanding research on embryonic stem cell lines, and pro-lifers are going to continually dog him for those votes.
As Rubio said, this election will be more “conventional”, and social issues such embryonic stem cell research will likely be secondary concerns for voters, as the ailing national economy and abysmal jobs numbers are first and foremost in the minds of the majority of voters at this time.