Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) easily won a third term tonight, beating Rep. Connie Mack IV (R), according to the Associated Press.
Nelson, who has managed to sustain a strong bipartisan appeal in Florida despite voting with Democrats most of the time in Washington, D.C., was always favored in his race with Mack.
The Congressman, son of former Florida Sen. Connie Mack III, was a weak candidate who at times seemed more focused on bashing Florida’s top political reporters than painting a contrast with Nelson. And he never raised the kind of money he would have needed to compete in the state’s exorbitantly expensive media markets.
The Senator, meanwhile, just kept plodding along and used his substantial war chest to hammer Mack in TV ads.
It’s not yet clear whether President Barack Obama will win the Sunshine State tonight, as he did in 2008. But, in polling, Nelson has always significantly outperformed Obama in the state. Nelson’s margin was likely among unmarried white women and independent voters, groups in which he comfortably ran ahead of the president.
Updated 1:36 pm | Sen. Rand Paul is taking his quest to cut off U.S. foreign aid to Libya, Egypt and Pakistan to the voters.
The Kentucky Republican’s political action committee, RANDPAC, criticizes Democratic Sens. Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) for opposing his efforts to block U.S. aid to the three countries until certain conditions are met. Both Democrats are favored to defeat their Republican challengers Nov. 6.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The juggernaut GOP-affiliated group Crossroads GPS began airing a new ad here in Florida today knocking two-term Sen. Bill Nelson (D) for his vote in favor of Obama’s signature health care law.
“Florida seniors are facing a health care crisis: only 14 physicians to every 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries,” a female narrator says. “But in Washington, Bill Nelson’s been voting for the new health care law, which cuts Medicare spending by $700 billion; puts unelected bureaucrats between Florida’s 3 million Medicare recipients and the care they need, hurting Florida seniors.”
“Tell Senator Nelson, it’s time to repeal,” she says.
The ad is backed by a $2.4 million buy on broadcast and cable TV in Florida. It’s part of the group’s wider push of spots, launched today against Democratic Senate candidates, that also includes ads in Montana, New Mexico and Ohio.
See the Montana ad, hitting Sen. Jon Tester (D) here:
See the New Mexico ad, dinging Rep. Martin Heinrich, the Democratic nominee for Senate, here:
See the Ohio ad knocking Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) here:
Rep. Connie Mack IV won tonight's Republican Senate primary in Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Rep. Connie Mack IV, who had broad support from just about every swath of the Republican Party, easily picked up the GOP nomination for Senate to take on Sen. Bill Nelson (D) in November.
Mack defeated long-shot candidates former Rep. Dave Weldon, retired Army Col. Mike McCalister and activist Marielena Stuart in primary. With 42.7 percent of precincts reporting, Mack had 58.5 percent of ballots cast, according to the Associated Press.
Nelson also easily dispatched a nonserious opponent. The two-term Senator took 79.3 percent of the vote, with 43.1 percent reporting, per AP results.
Mack is seen in both Democratic and Republican circles as a particularly weak candidate. The race in November favors Nelson.
Roll Call rates the Senate race as Leans Democratic. Nelson is widely expected to outperform President Barack Obama regardless of whether he wins the battleground state.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has hit the airwaves in Florida, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin with television ads targeting Democratic Senate candidates.
The chamber is also targeting independent Senate candidate former Gov. Angus King in Maine. The ads criticize the candidates on a range of issues, including support for the Affordable Care Act, proposals to increase taxes and votes on energy issues.
“With so much at stake in this election, the Chamber will continue to execute the largest voter education campaign in our history,” chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue said in a statement. “We will support candidates who will fight for free enterprise and oppose those who consistently support more government and stand in the way of economic growth and job creation.”
Independent expenditure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show that the chamber spent more than $5.3 million on ad buys and production costs for the series of spots. The group typically spends heavily to defeat Democratic candidates.
The chamber vowed to continue its efforts into the coming months in a press release. Full story
Rep. Connie Mack IV (R) has hired veteran Washington, D.C., fundraisers in an effort to bolster his Senate prospects, hoping to capitalize on recent polls that have shown him running competitive with Sen. Bill Nelson (D).
According to Republican sources, Mack, at the urging of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has hired well-known fundraiser Jim McCray to handle his national fundraising and has brought on Michael Gula and Jonathan Graham of Gula Graham to handle his political action committee fundraising. Among its other Congressional clients, the Gula Graham Group has long been been retained by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) to run his PAC fundraising. McCray, meanwhile, has worked on multiple GOP presidential campaigns. Full story
Former Florida Sen. George LeMieux today dropped his bid to return to the Senate, making Rep. Connie Mack IV (R) the presumptive GOP nominee to face Sen. Bill Nelson (D) in November.
Mack has stacked up endorsements from every part of the Republican Party — including both tea-party-affiliated Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And he declined to debate LeMieux, where the former Senator could have made his case to Florida voters.
Rep. Connie Mack (above) received the endorsement of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) today endorsed Rep. Connie Mack IV for Senate.
Mack has scored some big endorsements in his bid for the GOP Senate nomination, from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). But Bush’s nod may be the most important of all.
“Connie Mack is the principled conservative that the people of Florida deserve representing them in the U.S. Senate,” Bush said in a statement released by the Mack campaign. “Connie has the courage, conservative values, experience and determination to confront the tough issues facing our nation. We must return conservatives to the majority in the U.S. Senate. Connie is the person Floridians need in Washington working with Senator Marco Rubio to reduce our national debt and limit out-of-control spending.”
Mack is the strong frontrunner in his primary race against former Sen. George LeMieux.
The GOP nominee will take on tw0-term Sen. Bill Nelson (D) in the fall. Roll Call rates the race as Leans Democratic.
UPDATED 6:32 p.m. | Rep. Connie Mack IV, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for Senate in Florida, shored up his conservative credentials today with the endorsement of tea-party-affiliated conservative Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Wednesday endorsed former Sen. George LeMieux’s uphill battle to win his old job back.
“I served with George and have seen firsthand his commitment to reducing our national debt and stopping Washington’s out-of-control spending,” Coburn said in a statement.
In the Republican primary, LeMieux faces frontrunner Rep. Connie Mack IV, who has the backing of everyone from tea-party-affiliated Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to presumptive GOP White House nominee Mitt Romney.
The winner of the primary will face two-term Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who is in a strong position to win re-election even if President Barack Obama loses Florida.
In the general election, Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.
Former Rep. Dave Weldon (R), a physician who served in Congress from 1995 to 2009, today announced a long-shot bid for Senate in Florida.
“Someone has to do something to provide a Conservative answer to the problems the Administration has created and the current Senate has endorsed,” Weldon said in a statement, according to the Miami Herald. “We can’t keep racking up debt and placing it on the backs of our children. It’s time to stop the spending and balance the budget again. Together, we can change Washington — I helped do it once — and I can help do it again.” Full story
Rep. Connie Mack IV (above) got the endorsement of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Florida Rep. Connie Mack IV (R) today got the endorsement of presumptive GOP White House nominee Mitt Romney, boosting his effort to win the GOP nomination to take on two-term Sen. Bill Nelson (D).
“Connie Mack is a friend, a strong conservative and the type of principled leader we need in Washington to restore fiscal responsibility,” the former Massachusetts governor said in a statement. “By electing Connie Mack, the people of Florida will be sending a clear message to Senator Nelson and President Obama that their failed policies have not worked to change the borrow and spend ways of Washington.” Full story
Former GOP presidential contender Herman Cain endorsed former Sen. George LeMieux (R) Friday night in his bid to return to the Senate.
“This is the type of person that we need in Washington, D.C.,” Cain said at a county Lincoln Day dinner. “People who are not afraid to challenge the establishment; people who are there to represent the people and not represent politics; people who understand that it’s time that we stop shuffling the chairs on the deck of the Titanic and start solving stuff.”
LeMieux faces an uphill battle in his bid for the GOP nomination against frontrunner Rep. Connie Mack IV.