By Javier Manjarres
It appears that career politician Senator Bill Nelson is running scared from his Republican senatorial opponent Congressman Connie Mack. Nelson had agreed to a CNN/Tampa Bay Times debate moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley but abruptly pulled out of the debate when CNN replaced The Times as a partner with Bay News 9. Recent polls have the race within the margin of error, but the telling story is how far the once popular Senator from Florida has fallen with the Florida electorate and his inability to hit 50% in any poll.
The irony for Mack is that during his Republican primary race against George LeMieux, Mack was the one accused of dodging debates. Congressman Mack’s refusal to debate his Republican opponents was understandable considering the fact that the polls had Mack crushing LeMieux and former Congressman Tom Weldon. But Nelson’s withdrawal is very telling in this circumstance, as only a couple percentage points separate the two candidates.
Here is Congressman Mack’s release calling out Nelson for avoiding debates with him-
MIAMI – Refusing to present himself before Florida voters in a debate moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley, Bill Nelson has made it clear that he does not want to debate Congressman Connie Mack. At present, CNN has informed the Mack campaign that they are holding the date of October 30 if Bill Nelson changes his mind and agrees to the debate.Share the article below.
Nelson had accepted the scheduled October 30 debate on August 10, when the debate was hosted to be co-sponsored by the Nelson-friendly Tampa Bay Times. CNN ultimately partnered with Bay News 9 in Tampa and NewsCenter 13 in Orlando for the October 30 event, and today the Nelson campaign informed the debate organizers that October 30 was no longer an option. According to the Associated Press on August 24, “Nelson’s campaign says it plans to stick to the two debates it accepted.” The date on the table was October 30.
“Polls are tightening and show Connie Mack within striking distance of Nelson, and his 12 year Senate record of supporting liberal policies from ObamaCare to Cash for Clunkers, while gutting our nation’s military to pay for them. With a record which is 98% in lockstep with Barack Obama, it is no wonder Bill Nelson does not want to come before Florida voters and the nation to defend his failures in office. Even our Presidential candidates are willing to do three debates,” stated Mack Deputy Campaign Manager David James.
To date the Mack Campaign has accepted a variety of debates, including a forum hosted by former Democrat Senator Bob Graham on October 23, which Nelson has also refused to accept.
Here are the dates thus far accepted by the Mack Campaign:
September 9, 2012 – Mack accepted invitation for Fox News Sunday (invitation accepted April 5). Nelson refused to accept.October 3, 6 and 8 have been offered to CBS Affiliate/ Gannett debate in Tampa, FL – and debate has been accepted by Mack.
October 17 – Leadership Florida – NOVA – Davie, FL – Mack has accepted.
October 23 – University of Florida – Senator Bob Graham School of Journalism – Mack campaign has requested additional carriers be allowed to carry the feed.
October 28 – Michael Putney at Local 10 Studios in Miami – Mr. Putney’s invitation was for October 21 or 28, and Mack accepted the October 28 date.
October 30 – CNN / Bay News 9 / NewsCenter 13 -Location, St. Pete, Florida Bay News 9 Studios. Debate moderated by Candy Crowley of CNN and Al Ruechel of Bay News 9 – accepted by Mack.