Former Florida Republican Governor Jeb Bush threw his support behind Rep. Connie Mack’s U.S. Senate bid with an endorsement on Wednesday, further solidifying Mack’s standing as the frontrunner in a crowded primary field.
In a statement announcing his endorsement, Bush praised Mack as a “principled conservative,” promising Florida voters that “Connie has the courage, conservative values, experience, and determination to confront the tough issues facing our nation.”
Mack thanked the popular former governor for his support and friendship, calling Bush “a man whose service and dedication to this state serves as an example to anyone in public service” and commending his “tireless efforts on behalf of Florida’s children, particularly in the area of education.”
Mack will face former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, and retired Army Col. Mike McCalister in the August 14 Republican primary. If he wins, he will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in the November general election.
Recent polls have shown Mack with a commanding lead in the primary race — a Quinnipiac survey conducted between May 16 and May 21 gave the Congressman a 32 point lead over McCalister, his closest rival, who registered only 8 percent support in the poll.
Polling data for the general election, however, forecast a much closer race. A recent NBC News/Marist poll showed Nelson barely edging out Mack, 46 to 42 percent.
Bush’s endorsement is the latest expression of support for Mack’s bid from a prominent Republican. The Florida Congressman had previously secured the support of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno, and a number of Republicans on Capitol Hill.
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