LeMieux drops out of FL primary

posted at 10:01 am on June 20, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The smoke has cleared in an important US Senate fight in a key swing state today, allowing Republicans an opportunity to focus on a potential takeaway in November.  George LeMieux, whose primary campaign has been handicapped by his one-time appointment as an interim US Senator by the generally-reviled former Governor Charlie Crist, withdrew today.  The move leaves the field open to conservative favorite Connie Mack IV, who can now focus on unseating Senator Bill Nelson in November:

 George LeMieux is quitting the race for Senate. That means that Rep. Connie Mack is all but guaranteed to win the Republican race and face Sen. Bill Nelson.

LeMieux offered a somewhat graceless valediction, blaming Mack’s fundraising, his resistance to a series of debates, and most laughably the party “establishment” for his inability to compete in the primary:

The establishment has thrown their support behind my competitor, Connie Mack. Ahead of us in the polls, the Mack name enjoys widespread recognition that can only be matched with substantial advertising or the opportunity to debate on statewide television.

Advertising, which our finances cannot support, and debates, which my competitor won’t agree to.

It is not my nature to step aside, but there is a reality to running a statewide race in Florida.  Without the resources or the opportunity to debate, our message simply cannot be heard.

I’ve interviewed LeMieux a couple of times, and I think he did a good job with the interim appointment — certainly better than many thought once Crist went off the reservation in 2009-10.  However, blaming the party “establishment” is silly and transparently hypocritical.  LeMieux wouldn’t have been able to compete at all for this seat except for his raised profile as an interim Senator — which came entirely as a result of his own ties to the party “establishment,” at least as it existed at the time.  After Crist’s betrayal and a couple of scandals, the Republican Party of Florida cleaned house, and it’s not surprising that former Crist allies might not be terribly popular.

Still, LeMieux made the right decision.  Mack can now focus all of his energy and resources on beating Nelson in November, a key chance for a pickup that could put Republicans back in control of the Senate in 2013.


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NOOOOO

I really can’t stand Connie Mack.

joekenha on June 20, 2012 at 10:05 AM

We need as many pickups as possible hopefully this helps. Here in Ohio hopefully Sherrod Brown bites the bust as he is a far left a-hole.

gsherin on June 20, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Great/fair run-down, Ed. Thanks.

hawkdriver on June 20, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Hypothetical: Assuming Rubio gets tapped for VP and Connie Mack gets elected Senator, does Scott appoint LeMieux to the vacant Senate seat? I think not.

steebo77 on June 20, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Any time I’ve heard Connie Mack speak, I’ve been implressed. Good luck! A lot of impressive people coming out of Florida.

Bambi on June 20, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Dude…his mouth is the size of an airplane hangar.

MadisonConservative on June 20, 2012 at 10:09 AM

I think Mack’s going to have to have a long chat with conservatives around the state, and somehow find forgiveness for these comments. You don’t say things like that unless you hold leftist philosophy in your heart. Ties to Crist be damned, I would have infinitely preferred LeMieux in this race.

Ah well. Trading on Daddy’s name was enough to get Bob Casey Jr. in the Senate, so it should just be enough for Mack.

KingGold on June 20, 2012 at 10:10 AM

steebo77 on June 20, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Angela Corey

NotCoach on June 20, 2012 at 10:11 AM

BREAKING: Obama grants Holder request on ‘Furious’ documents as contempt vote looms

rightside on June 20, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Wow, what a whinefest.

Not what I was expecting from LeMieux.

Red Cloud on June 20, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Rubio the Dreamer and and now Mack… sucks to live in florida.

aniptofar on June 20, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Connie Mack on AZ’s illegal immigration law:
“This law of ‘frontier justice’ – where law enforcement officials are required to stop anyone based on ‘reasonable suspicion’ that they may be in the country illegally – is reminiscent of a time during World War II when the Gestapo in Germany stopped people on the street and asked for their papers without probable cause,” Mack said in a statement.

“This is not the America I grew up in and believe in, and it’s not the America I want my children to grow up in,” he added.

Babino on June 20, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Hypothetical: Assuming Rubio gets tapped for VP and Connie Mack gets elected Senator, does Scott appoint LeMieux to the vacant Senate seat? I think not.

steebo77 on June 20, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Perhaps Allen West? heh

GOPRanknFile on June 20, 2012 at 10:12 AM

LeMieux offered a somewhat graceless valediction,

I’d expect nothing else from a Crist ally.

Happy Nomad on June 20, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Rubio the Dreamer and and now Mack… sucks to live in florida.

aniptofar on June 20, 2012 at 10:12 AM

One disagreement and suddenly he’s persona non grata.

This is the kind of attitude that will lose us elections with great frequency.

Red Cloud on June 20, 2012 at 10:14 AM

This may be the biggest mistake the “establishment” has made since the formation of the Republican Party. George Lemieux served the State of FLorida well, in his 2 years and could have beaten Nelson rather easily. Mack, on the other hand, has more baggage than you can shake a stick at. I expect Nelson to exploit all of that baggage, including the fact that he’s living in California most of the time as one of OUR representatives.

bflat879 on June 20, 2012 at 10:14 AM

O/T, per Drudge: Obama Asserts Exec Privilege in Fast & Furious…

JohnGalt23 on June 20, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Most of the Florida Senate polls show Nelson far ahead of Mack. Instead of dumping on Romney and Rubio, why doesn’t Jeb Bush do something positive and run for Senate, which he could win in a landslide?

Steve Z on June 20, 2012 at 10:19 AM

One disagreement and suddenly he’s persona non grata.

This is the kind of attitude that will lose us elections with great frequency.

Red Cloud on June 20, 2012 at 10:14 AM

I don’t know why the Palinistas and their ilk have suddenly decided they hate Rubio, but I can understand exactly why they hate Mack.

Those “Gestapo” comments were so out of line that it’s completely embarrassing to the party and to the movement, and he made them at a time when every single politician in Arizona was getting pilloried for standing up to the criminal element in their own state, and border security and sheriff’s department officers were getting shot in the streets. So you’ll forgive me if I hold similar attitudes about Mack.

KingGold on June 20, 2012 at 10:20 AM

What about Dave Weldon? He just entered the race, and he actually lives in Florida not California like Mack.

kwky on June 20, 2012 at 10:20 AM

I don’t know why the Palinistas and their ilk have suddenly decided they hate Rubio, but I can understand exactly why they hate Mack.

KingGold on June 20, 2012 at 10:20 AM

I don’t understand the Rubio hate, either.

changer1701 on June 20, 2012 at 10:23 AM

We gonna Mack them Democrats.

NoDonkey on June 20, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Senator LeMieux did a formidable job – certainly better than anyone could expect from the Orange Man’s appointee – and I definitely wouldn’t mind him run for another office. One whine does not make a bad man.

Archivarix on June 20, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Florida dosn’t suck ! Most days it’s like living in paradise .
Le Meow could have been a little more gracious .
Not a huge fan of Mack but I’ll vote for him because
he’s better than Nelson .
Baby steps , can’t get perfection over night .

Lucano on June 20, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Hypothetical: Assuming Rubio gets tapped for VP and Connie Mack gets elected Senator, does Scott appoint LeMieux to the vacant Senate seat? I think not.

steebo77 on June 20, 2012 at 10:07 AM


If Rubio gets selected for VP, Mittens and the right will get hammered for it.

Rubio is not eligible for being pres and therefore should not be VP. I do hope he means it when he says that is why he won’t be VP.

TerryW on June 20, 2012 at 10:30 AM

I don’t know why the Palinistas and their ilk have suddenly decided they hate Rubio, but I can understand exactly why they hate Mack.

KingGold on June 20, 2012 at 10:20 AM

It’s not the “Palinistas” per se. They really are your favorite bête noire, no?

steebo77 on June 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

It’s not the “Palinistas” per se. They really are your favorite bête noire, no?

steebo77 on June 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

TrueCons? LaLa Land permanent residents? Any term works for me.

The Venn diagram of Palinistas and people constantly whining about Rubio for one reason or another these days (with the exception of the whackjob Rubio Birthers, who are surely Paulians to a man), is a circle. End of story.

If you don’t like that characterization, try not to fall so willingly into the reactionary-zealot stereotype.

KingGold on June 20, 2012 at 10:52 AM

If you don’t like that characterization, try not to fall so willingly into the reactionary-zealot stereotype.

KingGold on June 20, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Reactionary-zealot? What have I said even remotely in that vein?

steebo77 on June 20, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Ugh, Connie Mack is such a hack…

Norwegian on June 20, 2012 at 11:00 AM

…Connie Mack?…might as well elect the girls from Maine!

KOOLAID2 on June 20, 2012 at 11:02 AM

OH great another RINO might get in the senate. I thought the idea was to get rid of those guys.

bgibbs1000 on June 20, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Ok folks , let’s ignore the reality and vote for Nelson .
Good Lord ………..

Lucano on June 20, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Rubio is not eligible for being pres and therefore should not be VP.
TerryW on June 20, 2012 at 10:30 AM

You are so full of crap.

notropis on June 20, 2012 at 11:12 AM

I was born and raised in Naples, where I was represented by Mr. Mack IV. As anybody who’s spent so much as an election season in that area knows, it’s all about the good ol’ boys club.

Can’t say I’ve got a lot of faith in the guy but I suppose we’ll see what happens come November.

Aquarian on June 20, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Real men are not called Connie.

CorporatePiggy on June 20, 2012 at 11:21 AM

There are lots of advantages in taking over the senate .
I for one will take half a loaf plus even one slice if we can get
it .

Lucano on June 20, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Real men are not called Connie.

CorporatePiggy on June 20, 2012 at 11:21 AM

His real name is Cornelius McGillicuddy IV.

steebo77 on June 20, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Let’s play “Name That Party”:

Candidate For US Senate Faces Sex Charge

Via Drudge.

davidk on June 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM

If Rubio gets selected for VP, Mittens and the right will get hammered for it.

Rubio is not eligible for being pres and therefore should not be VP. I do hope he means it when he says that is why he won’t be VP.

TerryW on June 20, 2012 at 10:30 AM

I think it’s marvelous that Hot Gas allows crack addicts to post here.

NotCoach on June 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM

OH great another RINO might get in the senate. I thought the idea was to get rid of those guys.

bgibbs1000 on June 20, 2012 at 11:08 AM

RINO. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

HTL on June 20, 2012 at 11:48 AM

We do have one conservative candidate in the Senate race, Marielena Stuart

http://www.stuart2012.com/

jb34461 on June 20, 2012 at 11:49 AM

The 1929 A’s were one of the best teams in baseball history.

Just sayin’

mankai on June 20, 2012 at 12:08 PM

George LeMieux was an *excellent* interim senator, despite his ties to Charlie Crist (who is now flacking for a bottom-feeding ambulance-chaser law firm here in Florida). Remember that LeMieux clearly stated that he would support the Republican candidate (after Crist announced that he was running as an independent), and his constituent response was much better and more personal than that of his counterpart Bill Nelson, whose office responds with stock responses which are occasionally not related to the questions.

Unfortunately, LeMieux decided to openly cater to the social conservatives, using gays as a convenient shorthand for “I’m just as intolerant as the rest of the Republicans running for this seat.” In doing so, he lost my vote (and potentially my husband’s vote, which is significant since he’s a Democrat; he’s not particularly impressed with the canned responses he gets from Nelson). It’s too bad, because I actually went to high school with him, and I think that he is generally a good guy. I’m glad he dropped out before the race got really nasty, since I think that Nelson can be beaten by a strong Republican who hasn’t been slagged by primary opponents.

LeMieux may have a future in Florida politics, but not this year; the same goes for Mike Haridopoulos, who was the first candidate for this seat to drop out. Both of them are smart guys with good political instincts, but Connie Mack’s name and record have sucked up all of the oxygen in this race, and that is why all of the politically savvy guys dropped out or switched to other races (like Adam Hasner).

Horologium on June 20, 2012 at 12:30 PM

The RPOF is just as dirty as it has ever been.

sandspur on June 20, 2012 at 12:31 PM

LeMieux offered a somewhat graceless valediction, blaming Mack’s fundraising, his resistance to a series of debates, and most laughably the party “establishment” for his inability to compete in the primary:

LeMieux is right. Adam Hasner already dropped out–another push from the Macks, et al., in my estimation.

NOOOOO

I really can’t stand Connie Mack.

joekenha on June 20, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Yeah, I’m disgusted to see this political dynasty stranglehold. For those of you not from FL, here’s Mack’s political pedigree:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connie_Mack_IV

His father, Connie Mack III, represented the district from 1983 to 1989 (when it was numbered as the 13th District) before serving two terms in the U.S. Senate. He is a great-grandson of Connie Mack, the manager and owner of baseball’s Philadelphia Athletics, and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is also a great-grandson of Morris Sheppard, U.S. Senator and Representative from Texas, and a step-great-grandson of Tom Connally, who was the Texas Junior Senator to Sheppard for 12 years (Sheppard’s widow married Connally the year after Sheppard died). Mack’s great-great-grandfather was John Levi Sheppard, who was also a U.S. Representative from Texas.

INC on June 20, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Well, at least Mack has eyeballs. LeMieux looks odd in the web picture.

Lothar on June 20, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Horologium on June 20, 2012 at 12:30 PM

I liked him. I’m a social conservative. It’s far easier to go with the flow, than to take a principled stand.

INC on June 20, 2012 at 1:51 PM

What about Dave Weldon? He just entered the race, and he actually lives in Florida not California like Mack.

kwky on June 20, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Is Dave Weldon in the race? He was once my Rep. He’s a good guy, and someone I would actually volunteer for.

INC on June 20, 2012 at 1:57 PM

I don’t know how I missed the news on Weldon. I no longer live in his old district, but I ought to have known this.

For those of you unfamiliar with who Weldon is:

http://www2.tbo.com/news/opinion/2012/jun/16/naopino2-when-the-mischief-is-already-done-ar-416591/

Would I ever love to see him in the Senate. No more Macks.

INC on June 20, 2012 at 2:05 PM

http://daveweldonforsenate.com/

Those supporting Hasner and LeMieux will probably go to him.

Hasner won the FL CPAC poll back in the fall before Mack entered. Hasner dropped out to run the district that was West’s. West is running in one of the new FL districts. IMO there was string pulling and some leaning done on him to quite after Mack entered.

INC on June 20, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Great. George LeMieux exits, and Dave Weldon, another SoCon, enters in his place. I am so sick and tired of hearing about “traditional family values”, which reduces families to “mom, dad, and the kids, but not too many”; anything else is not a family, and deserves nothing but opprobrium. You want traditional? Outlaw divorce, ostracize people who have kids without getting married, bring back the sodomy statutes (because some guy somewhere might be getting oral sex from his girlfriend, and sodomy is sodomy), and start throwing adulterers in jail. (Good luck on getting any Supreme Court endorsement of those positions.) My marriage (which is not recognized in Florida due to SoCons and their unlikely allies, liberal blacks who were busy swinging Florida to Obama while changing the state constitution to permanently reduce me to second-class citizen status) is no threat to any male-female coupling. I fail to see why recognizing monogamous and faithful gay couples is going to destroy marriage. I don’t have a problem with Social Conservatives who don’t want to impose their values upon me, so if you are a SoCon who leaves me alone, more power to you; I suspect that we agree on a lot of fiscal and foreign policy issues.

Weldon has an entire section of his site dedicated to “traditional family values”, touting his support of all things anti-gay (and a few things that I agree with, such as permanent repeal of the death tax and cracking down on kiddie p0rn), while Mack’s more stripped-down site doesn’t address social issues at all.

Mack is no social liberal, but he is a strong fiscal conservative who doesn’t go out of his way to demonize gays, like Weldon, Sam Brownback (who has already endorsed Weldon), and the Michelle Bachmann/Jim DeMint/Jim Inhofe crowd. I can live with his positions with which I disagree, because none of his signature issues are diametrically opposed to my own views. I don’t agree with him on WikiLeaks, but that’s not a dealbreaker for me.

Horologium on June 20, 2012 at 2:53 PM

One disagreement and suddenly he’s persona non grata.

This is the kind of attitude that will lose us elections with great frequency.

Red Cloud on June 20, 2012 at 10:14 AM

The Purity Police aren’t about winning elections. They are about Purity, and policing to make sure it isn’t defiled by the slightest disagreement from their perfect ideals in any way. Because if you don’t toe their line 100%, you are impure and rejected. 99 44/100% pure is the enemy to them.

Adjoran on June 20, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Horologium on June 20, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Gay activists are the ones who have wanted to impose their values.

INC on June 20, 2012 at 3:07 PM

He doesn’t fit the meme:

The pro-life Weldon, who helped pioneer local AIDS treatment after entering private practice in 1987…

INC on June 20, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Cornelius is a pandering liberal nitwit. Perfect for the Obama Senate.

Not well suited to a conservative seat.

Jaibones on June 20, 2012 at 3:30 PM

The guy can’t be all that impressive since he married Mary Bono, the republican house member from CA who voted for climate change legislation (and most other far-left bills.)

lonestar1 on June 20, 2012 at 5:08 PM

ANY conservative would be a huge improvement over Sen. “Rubber Stamp for Obama” Nelson.
This is a clueless man with zero accomplishments in his time in the senate

conservativecaveman on June 20, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Don’t rule out Weldon. He will resonate well with Christian Conservatives/tea Partiers/ Non-establishment Republicans. He’s in late and has money to raise, but he’s been an under estimated underdog before. when he ran for congress here he was 1 of 9, many of which had more money and name recognition (including a couple of machine establishment types). he surprised people, including me. He’s a solid conservative.

Malachi45 on June 21, 2012 at 3:26 AM

The move leaves the field open to conservative favorite Connie Mack IV, who can now focus on unseating Senator Bill Nelson in November:

I know this is an old thread, but I want to put in one more comment to say that Mack is most definitely not a conservative favorite.

The last poll I saw showed 37 percent of Florida Republican voters undecided in the U.S. Senate primary. The top vote-getter, with 34 percent of the vote, was Connie Mack IV. Mack subsequently announced the race was over and that he would be the nominee against Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson.

The arrogance of Mack’s proclamation and his refusal to debate other Republican candidates was surprising considering the gravitas of his opponents. 1. George LeMieux, who filled the seat of U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez and earned accolades for effectiveness from senior colleagues. 2. Former Rep. Dave Weldon, who served in the U.S. House for several terms and is a practicing physician. 3. Mike McCalister, a military veteran who ran ran for governor in 2010 and reached double digits despite his lack of funding and name recognition.

INC on June 22, 2012 at 5:33 PM