By Javier ManjarresThe momentum in Florida’s Republican U.S. Senate primary race is continuing decidedly in the favor of Congressman Connie Mack, who has campaign recently announced that the race between he and his primary opponents is “over.” Mack’s statement that it wasn’t necessary for him to debate his Republican opponents because the race was ‘over’ has struck the ire of many activists who have long described him as too complacent and “arrogant.” (Source-Miami Herald)
The different Tea Party groups across the state are divided as to whether to back Mack or LeMieux in the primary race. Now that former Congressman Dave Weldon has jumped in, Weldon is likely to siphon support from LeMieux’s Tea Party support. Former Army colonel Mike McCalister has faded, and Marielena Stuart is just beginning to make waves with her campaign by winning a recent Pinellas GOP straw poll.
But the latest Quinnipiac Poll has Mack trouncing LeMieux and the rest of the field, and it seems that the bad polling numbers for LeMieux’s are causing Tea Party leaders to hedge their support of him and give Mack a second look.
Orlando Tea Party leader Tom Tillison, who also writes for Florida Political Press has been one of George LeMieux’s biggest fans and one of Mack’s biggest critics. But Tillison says that “LeMieux is a better politician, but Mack has a more conservative voting record.”
Indian River Tea party leader Toby Hill recently hosted luncheon with Congressman Mack and said that Mack was received “very well” by the luncheon attendees. Hill also said that Mack was the “type of guy you can just walk up to and talk to about just anything,” whereas LeMieux was perceived as a more calculating and polished politician.The national grassroots conservative group FreedomWorks now appears to be on the verge of endorsing Congressman Mack in the race. FreedomWorks has told the Shark Tank that Mack is “the better, and most fiscally conservative candidate in the race.“
Unfortunately for LeMieux, his inability to sufficiently inspire the base and his past associations have led to a lackluster campaign that has been unable to build or sustain its support. LeMieux’s close relationship with former Republican Governor Charlie Crist as well as what still remains to be revealed about his dealings with disgraced former RPOF Chairman Jim Greer have all proven too heavy a burden for LeMieux to mount a successful campaign for Senate to this point, and barring some unforeseen circumstances, it’s unlikely to change.
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