Is Democratic Florida Senator Bill Nelson is in real danger in 2012? He seems to be teetering.
As The Miami Herald recently reported,
Sen. Bill Nelson is doing an OK job in office, but he’s not in the strongest of positions heading into the 2012 election season, a new poll from Quinnipiac University shows.
The survey also shows President Barack Obama and his policies — the healthcare law and the war in Afghanistan he inherited — are less popular than Nelson, who has tried to distance himself from Obama on occasion.
By a 45-21 percent, registered voters approve of Nelson’s job performance, and 43 percent say he deserves reelection, the poll shows. Less than a third of the electorate want someone else.
“Sen. Nelson is not in terrific shape but he is not in terrible shape either,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “His fate may rest with how President Barack Obama does in 2012 as Florida voters see the two men similarly on the issues.”
Of course, this far out, the numbers can only tell you so much. Charlie Crist was once the wildly popular governor of Florida, with approval ratings through the roof.
Nelson’s survival may depend on whether or not he draws a tough Republican challenger. After all, without a candidate Marco Rubio, Floridians very well might have ended up with a Senator Charlie Crist.
Potential Republican challengers to Nelson include Senate President Mike Haridopolos, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, U.S. Rep. Connie Mack and a popular conservative 41-year-old former state House majority leader named Adam Hasner.
LeMiex was Crist’s Chief of Staff before being appointed to fill the remainder of Sen. Mel Martinez’ s term. He wisely backed Rubio after Crist bolted the GOP. By all accounts, he served admirably.
Grassroots conservatives appear to be hoping for a Hasner candidacy.
… And then there’s the possibility of a celebrity candidate.
The Palm Beach Post recently reported that Nick Loeb — the boyfriend of “Modern Family” actress Sofia Vergara — might make a bid in 2012 for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Bill Nelson. A Republican, Loeb said he won’t emulate Jeff Greene, a billionaire Palm Beach resident who spent more than $23 million of his own money on an unsuccessful run last year.
According to the Post, “Loeb said he hasn’t set a timetable for making a decision” and that Vergara’s career will be a consideration.
“I’m not ready to overwhelm her with this,” Loeb told the newspaper. “I want to make sure I do what’s right for both of us.”
Loeb is the son of former Ambassador John Loeb Jr. He made a previous run for local office — unsuccessfully.