Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., is far ahead in a poll for the Republican primary to face Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson this year. The Sunshine State News survey
of likely Republican presidential primary voters shows 40 percent of them support Mack, whose father held a Florida Senate seat for two terms.
Former Sen. George LeMieux took a distant second with 8 percent support, followed by retired Army officer and businessman Mike McCalister with 3 percent, former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner with 2 percent, and restaurant executive Craig Miller with 1 percent. Miller was endorsed by former presidential candidate Herman Cain last week.
To be sure, Mack can’t take too much comfort in the poll, given that 42 percent of the voters remain undecided.
“Presumably, Mack is winning because of superior name ID, but is his support solidified, or is it a mile wide but only an inch deep?” Jim Lee, president of Voter Survey Service, which conducted the poll, told Sunshine State News.
“Not addressed in the poll but central to Mack’s staying power are the following questions: Can LeMieux convince voters he is the true ‘outsider’ with his charge that Mack is a ‘career politician’? Will any of the other candidates besides LeMieux and Mack have the resources to communicate a message in Florida, with its expensive and multiple media markets? Which candidate will have the best contrast with Nelson? And what impact could the GOP establishment have with troops on the ground if and when they do make an endorsement?”
LeMieux’s ties to his ex-boss, former Gov. Charlie Crist, could damage the former senator in the primary, Lee said. That’s because Republicans are upset with Crist for exiting the party in 2010 so that he could run for senator as an independent.
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