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Four Reasons George LeMieux Is Dropping Out of the U.S. Senate Race

George LeMieux 2.jpg

Former U.S. Senator George LeMieux is throwing in the towel, he announced on his You Tube channel today.

It's not a complete surprise. He's been trailing badly in the polls since Rep. Connie Mack IV got into the race.

But in another way, it's a little unexpected, because LeMieux went after Mack with a series of controversial ads that painted him as an irresponsible playboy.

LeMieux's knock on Mack is that he's living off his father's and grandfather's name recognition, and that Mack IV is a lightweight who barely even lives in Florida.

Remember "Two-and-a-Half Macks"? (Now when you try to watch it, a message comes up saying "This video is private.")

In his resignation video, LeMieux gives a tepid endorsement to his one-time opponent: "Connie Mack will be the nominee. He has my support."

He spends no time talking about Mack's strengths. Instead, he talks about why he's been forced to drop out.

1. The GOP Establishment is against him.

"The decision has been made by party leadership that there's a better candidate to face Bill Nelson," he says. "The establishment has thrown their support behind my competitor, Connie Mack."

2. Mack has better name recognition.

"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."

3. Mack refuses to debate.

Mack has turned down a request to participate in a Florida PBS/Bay News 9/Tampa Bay Times debate. LeMieux needed that free media and potentially a big Mack screw-up to eat into his polling lead.

4. LeMieux has no money.

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



Scott Finn is a former news director at WUSF Public Media, which provides in-depth reporting for Tampa Bay and all of Florida.
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